Data Protection Issues

Over on the TES R.E. Forum, user fpno asked

Are there any data protection issues with inserting the names of our students into [Yacapaca]?

It’s a question that (quite rightly) comes up regularly, so I thought it worthwhile to reflect here the answer I gave in the forum:

Under the Data Protection Act, you have a general responsibility to store and use your students’ data safely so, yes, there is an issue. You have to be sure that Yacapaca is at least as safe as the conventional alternative, and preferably safer. Here is what Yacapaca does to give you that reassurance:

  • Yacapaca’s digital site security is better than that of most banks’ online banking sites. See this report for details of how that is measured.
  • The site is hosted at Interxion London, one of the highest-security data centers in the UK. Here is their safety/security page.
  • And if somebody did get through all of that, there isn’t much they could do with the data. Yacapaca does not store students’ email addresses, so there is no way to contact your students other than through you.

Now let’s consider the alternative you are moving from. Most teachers are moving to Yacapaca from paper notebooks and worksheets. How secure are they? Do you ever leave a pile of notebooks in the back of the car whilst you pop into the shop? Probably. If you take them home, do keep them in a safe overnight? Of course not. I have never known students’ notebooks be treated as a security risk, but in fact they contain the exact same type of data that Yacapaca does.

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