Welsh Assembly blocks individual school email

Remembering when I setup one of the first school email systems in Ireland and the UK many years ago, I came across this story on ZDNet, which brings to bear the emmense issue of privacy when issuing individual email addresses to students in schools.

Fears over children's safety on the Internet halt plans to give Welsh school pupils their own email addresses

The Welsh Assembly has halted its pledge to provide every school pupil in Wales with a personal email address because of security fears.

Minutes from an Assembly cabinet meeting in June have revealed that the proposal was shelved following concerns that children could be individually identified through their personal email addresses. Members of the Cabinet feared that school pupils could be approached by paedophiles if their email addresses were given out in Internet chatrooms.

"For the time being, a general domain name will be given out instead, so that all correspondence is addressed to the school rather than an individual pupil," said a spokeswoman at the National Assembly for Wales. "But we're still well on target to have all schools online by 2002."

The Department for Education and Skills' (DfES) says that "the world has moved on from 1997, and class-based email addresses will offer more protection as students will remain unidentifiable within any email address,". The system will however allow individual students to send and receive emails in the same way as with personal email addresses, but the teacher will have the control to filter out any unsuitable correspondence.

News source: ZDNet News UK

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