Top London University Admits to Monitoring Student E-mails

/ 4 years ago

Top London University Admits to Monitoring Student E-mails

King’s College London has posted a notice on their e-mail login page warning members that emails can be “monitored and recorded”, apparently under the UK Government’s controversial anti-terror strategy Prevent.  Students are also given the notice that anyone using the system automatically “expressly consents” to their e-mail correspondence being monitored and suggests to users not to send materials that are deemed to be “indecent, offensive, defamatory, threatening, discriminatory or extremist”. The National Union of Students and critics of the government’s Prevent program argue that approach however, seeks a system of mistrust, unfairly targets some ethnic groups and closes off any debate about the matter.

NUS President, Malia Bouattia said: “This is yet another example of how the Prevent agenda turns our educational institutions against their own students, perpetuates a culture of fear, restricts academic freedoms and normalises Islamophobia. NUS is deeply concerned about the impact that systematic monitoring of messages will have on students, particularly black and Muslim students and those involved in political campaigns, activities or research.”

The Higher Education Funding Council in England (HEFCE), who is responsible for overseeing the implementation of Prevent in universities says that this is perfectly within the rights of the college and that other institutions are doing the exact same thing across the UK and that this approach is consistent with the Prevent guidance. A HEFCE spokesman said that “Within this guidance, providers have had the autonomy to decide what approach works for them. Some have gone down the route of filtering, some monitoring and some neither of these.”

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