Children as young as FIVE are at risk of being spied on through webcams via anti-extremism software
- The ‘classroom management’ software flags up key words, such as terrorism
- A provider of the technology able to remotely turn on cameras and take footage
- NetSupport DNA, provides software to more than 1,000 schools in the UK
Children as young as five years old are at risk of being spied on through webcams, under a system designed to battle extremism.
‘Classroom management’ software flags up key words, such as terrorism, that are typed in by children when they go online.
But one major provider of the software is able to remotely turn on cameras on the devices and take footage of the children, an investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has revealed.
NetSupport DNA, provides software to more than 1,000 schools in the UK, and said the camera could be enabled if a student typed certain words such as ‘suicide.’
One major provider of the software is able to remotely turn on cameras on the devices and take footage of the children
A screenshot of the student is then sent to a teacher, and in some instances to the police.
The company is reportedly planning a software update that would allow it to be activated in children’s homes.
Mother-of-three Jen Persson, director of campaign group Defend Digital Me, said she was concerned about the possible use of the technology.
She said: ‘It’s a huge red flag that companies are so unwilling to speak openly … and that there is no documentation about what parents should be told.’
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There are further concerns hackers could gain access to images and recordings.
Andy Phippen, professor of social responsibility in IT at Plymouth University said: ‘I am somewhat shocked to see that this is viewed as acceptable,’
‘There are major data protection concerns about an outside agency being able to move from an alert based on keyword matching to viewing the subject in the home … it seems wholly disproportionate based upon something that could be entirely innocuous.’
Schools have been upping their house of monitoring equipment since 2016 when the government launched its Keeping Children Safe guidance.
It recommends schools ‘introduce appropriate levels of web monitoring’
NetSupport DNA have been approached for comment.
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