Big Brother Scotland


SEEMiS: state surveillance made simple

We have re-published, with author Georgie Farron's permission, her excellent article from last year on the rise and rise of the database state in Scotland, aided and abetted by SEEMiS and 'partners'.

SEEMiS: state surveillance made simple

A visit to the Seemis website and entering it into Google reveals at a startling glimpse the massive scale of Girfec across the public sector. Few children will be without a ‘profile’. SEEMiS is set up as a national purveyor of behavioural monitoring, records analysis, academic pupil tracking, child’s plans and of course, data storage facilities for every schoolchild.

Financial details of family are also gathered and placed here where the child has received any education-related benefits involving means-testing, such as uniform allowance, EMA, or free school meals. A photograph of the child could well be on the system.

Every nursery or primary school child has, according to Seemis, a ‘Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire’ performed – a tool that after trials, has been recommended for use every three years or so through a child’s life so that any psychological or behavioural issues can be ‘scored’ and tracked by multiple agencies.
There is a bewildering array of data-mining procedures at large. Practitioners are even encouraged to draw ‘genograms’ and ‘ecographs’ for children, detailing their aunts and uncles, siblings and grannies on both sides and mapping any associations they and their families have in their communities. The Shanarri wellbeing indicators and the ‘four capacities’ have been plotted onto a ‘Wellbeing Wheel’. Then there is the ‘Girfec Dashboard’, the ‘Resilience Matrix’, the ‘My World Triangle’ and flow charts galore.

More disturbing still are the ‘chronologies’ which chart life events for all children and move with them from school to school by dint of being attached to their records. SEEMiS has a handy ‘module’ for this, called a ‘Pastoral Notes Application’. The website enthuses: ‘As well as the ability to record minor events a chronology can be created for any event which could have a significant impact on a pupil.’

Between this and the Behaviour Tracking module where ‘class teachers, principal teachers and management can record and track instances of poor behaviour in real time’, the chances are that our pupils are already having highly sensitive personal data routinely recorded, tracked, analysed and profiled.