The government is planning to collect huge amounts of private information on primary school pupils for a new Primary Online Database (POD). The Department of Education will compel parents to provide the PPS numbers, details of religion, ethnicity, first language and mother’s maiden name of their primary aged children.
The Department plans to keep the information in the POD until the children turn 30 and expects to share the database with other parts of the government, including the Department of Social Protection. Parents will be able to refuse to provide details of religion and ethnicity, but all other details will be compulsory.
The government says the database will be used to improve education policy. However, there is concern from privacy advocates and digital rights lawyers about the extent of the information sought and the use that could be made of it.