KCL breached GDPR guidelines ahead of Queen’s visit independent report reveals
King’s College London (KCL) has apologised publicly following an independent report on data protection released last week. The report revealed that KCL breached GDPR guidelines by sending a list of student activists to the police ahead of the Queen’s visit in March.
It also stated that including protestors’ student society memberships in the list, compiled by security, breached KCL’s Data Protection Policy. Furthermore, it stated that some “information [issued by KCL] would be considered special category data under Article 9 of GDPR.”
It concluded that security and sections of Estates “lost overall sight of their role in protecting the students and staff”.
The Queen’s visit to Bush House, a new part of KCL’s campus, was accompanied by protests from campus activists. Subsequently, a group of these activists were barred from entering campus and had their access cards blocked. The students affected were mostly affiliated with KCL Action Palestine, Justice for Cleaners, and Intersectional Feminist Society. This sparked further protests questioning practice of free speech in KCL and its handling of left-wing activist.
The independent report revealed that information about activists was acquired by cross-referencing timestamps from access gates at KCL’s Strand campus to student ID cards.
In her apology, Professor Evelyn Welch, Acting KCL Principal, conceded that “some interpreted [barring campus activists] on the day as racial profiling”. She added: “this was not the case” and that “discrimination on any ground is unacceptable and damaging to our community.”
Student Union condemns surveillance
KCL Student Union commented that, “We are disgusted and disappointed by the actions taken by staff members at KCL.”
The Union respoded to the surveillance of left-wing protests. It said, “We remain firm in our unequivocal condemnation of surveillance by the college, in any form and for any reason, no matter what the purported justification is: this is a place of learning, not a police state.”
Riobhca was one of the KCL student affected by the access card lockout. In a public statement she said: “Despite being glad a thorough review has been conducted, I have no faith that the recommendations of the review will be carried out.”
KCL student activist groups have presented a list of four demands to the university. It includes de-securitization measures and compensation for every student affected by managements’s actions.