Gambling companies have been accessing children’s private data to keep check on their age to avoid accessing online accounts to the under-aged.
One British government department has been roundly condemned by another in the data breach, revealed the Sunday Telegraph in a report yesterday.
The Information Commissioner, John Edwards (pictured), said that if the faulty Department for Education (DfE) had been a private company, he would have fined it £10m.
As it is, said the report, this “serious breach of the law” leading to a huge fine would have seen the money simply going back to the government and therefore having minimal effect.
Up to 28 million children’s personal information and examination results had been made available to gambling companies by the DfE, potentially increasing the number of young people who gamble.
Said Commissioner Edwards: “No one needs persuading that a database of pupils’ learning records being used to help gambling companies is unacceptable.” He said that the DfE was unaware that the data was being misused.
The database contained children’s names, ages, addresses and qualifications, accessed by a now-defunct company named Trustopia, which provided an age verification service to gambling companies.
It enabled companies, including GB Group, that assists many companies including 32Red and Betfair, with a fast and inexpensive way to check the ages of young online customers who claimed to be over 18 and therefore legally permitted to gamble.
The newspaper said that between September 2018 and January 2020, Trustopia carried out searches on 22,000 children and young people to verify their ages. Since then, the DfE had removed 2,600 of the 22,000 organisation that had access to the database.