Police-style body cameras are being worn by teachers in UK schools

Kelly Fiveash
Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Naughty pupils are being filmed by teachers who are wearing body cameras in at least two comprehensive schools in England.
However, when quizzed by Ars, the department for education declined to comment on the action of individual schools in the country, saying only that it was up to them to follow guidelines laid out by Britain's data watchdog.
"It's a matter for schools," a DfE spokesperson said, adding: "it's up to them whether they choose to do it."
Criminal justice studies' lecturer, Tom Ellis—who works at the University of Portsmouth—said, quoting anonymous industry sources, that teachers had strapped on the cameras to deal with unruly kids. "Most schools now have some level of problems with low-level background disorder in classrooms and the teachers have become quite fed up with not being able to teach," he told the Guardian.
In an opinion piece late last week, Ellis advocated the use of surveillance in schools and said that the body cameras were being used "in line with education board approved policy and guidelines, meaning that all footage is recorded with government approved encryption." He added that the footage was "securely stored on a dedicated cloud platform—like the ones used by the most advanced police forces."
The Information Commissioner's Office states the following in its CCTV code of practice, in relation to body-worn video (BWV) cameras:
Because of the volume of personal data and potentially sensitive personal data that BWV cameras will process and the portability of them, it is important that you have appropriately robust technical and physical security in place to protect this information.
For example, make sure devices can be encrypted, or where this is not appropriate have other ways of preventing unauthorised access to information.
Body-cam provider Axon—which is currently deploying 22,000 BWVs to the Metropolitan Police Service—confirmed to Ars that it isn't supplying the devices to schools in England.
When quizzed about details of the supplier, a spokesperson at the University of Portsmouth—speaking on behalf of Ellis—told Ars that "the manufacturer has asked for anonymity."
A rival BWV maker to Axon is a company called Reveal Media. It bills itself as "the market leader in the UK, which is leading the world in adopting body worn video. Our systems are used by the majority of UK police forces, as well as in prisons, local government, and private security."
Ars has sought comment from Reveal Media to find out if it has supplied schools with its BWVs, but it was yet to respond at time of publication.
The ICO said that schools which use BWVs needed to meet a very stringent criteria:
Recording images of any identifiable individuals needs to be done in line with the Data Protection Act and particular care needs to be taken when this may involve children. Any organisation considering using body worn video cameras must justify their use and consider whether or not it is proportionate, necessary, and addresses a pressing need not addressed by other measures. This is a very high bar to clear.
We recommend that schools undertake a privacy impact assessment to demonstrate that these criteria are met. In the event that a school decides that matters can only be addressed by using body worn video cameras, they must make sure that any images are only used for that specific purpose and that staff, pupils, and visitors are aware they may be recorded and that appropriate measures are in place to keep the recorded images secure.
Police-style body cameras are being worn by teachers in UK schools Reviewed by Bizpodia on 00:39 Rating: 5

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