Chandigarh school students’ data being sold to coaching centres for 4 to 6 per child

About 14 to 15 salespersons employed by various coaching centres in Sector 34, the Mecca of coaching centres, told HT correspondent that they had access to data of students collected from various schools, including their names, class, roll number, name of school and the contact number of their parents
Data on each child was sold for <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>4 to <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>6 to various agencies for marketing, the entire amount in some cases going up to <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>28,000.(Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo used for representational purpose only)
Data on each child was sold for 4 to 6 to various agencies for marketing, the entire amount in some cases going up to 28,000.(Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo used for representational purpose only)
Updated on Jan 07, 2020 06:45 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | BySrishti Jaswal, Chandigarh

Your data, including your phone number, salary details, address, even your social media profile, and, more worryingly, the names of your children and their schools could be up for sale for as little as 4 to 6, easily available to unscrupulous persons looking to create mischief, Hindustan Times investigations have revealed.

About 14 to 15 salespersons employed by various coaching centres in Chandigarh’s Sector 34, the Mecca of coaching centres, told this correspondent that they had access to data of students collected from various schools, including their names, class, roll number, name of school and the contact number of their parents.

Data on each child was sold for 4 to 6 to various agencies for marketing, the entire amount in some cases going up to 28,000, they said, adding that the data was of around 7,000 students studying in 26 different schools of tricity.

Calling it a gross violation of Article 19 of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, which assures that member countries shall ensure that there is no exploitation of children, senior advocate HC Arora said, “it also exposes children to crime by antisocial elements, particularly female child. It is a very serious matter.”

Shocked by leak, says VHS director

When HT contacted Vivek High School (VHS) with data it had accessed, HS Mamik, director, VHS, and chairman of the Independent School Association (ISA) said he was shocked by its leak from the school and would lodge an FIR with Punjab police. “Our investigations reveal that this data belongs to VHS Mohali. It is a very serious offence.We will also investigate the matter on our own,” he added.

Along with the ISA, the Chandigarh Parents Association (CPA), while taking the cognizance of the same, said the students’ privacy was being violated. Nitin Goyal, president, CPA, said, “Parents after trusting the school share their personal details, including annual income, marital status, address and social media profile during admissions. These are minute details of their personal life as well as those of their children.”

Serious breach of privacy

Jatinder Chopra, a parent whose data was accessed by HT, said his mobile phone was bombarded with messages from coaching centres and termed it “a serious breach of privacy.”

Another parent requesting anonymity said, “My child is in plus-one medical and now I understand why I have been getting so many calls on my number. This is really worrisome.”

When apprised of the matter, Rubinderjit Singh Brar, director, school education, said he was shocked at this breach and would get it investigated thoroughly.

Omvir Bishnoi, DIG Chandigarh, said he would look at the data before commenting on the matter.

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