Scottish social networking school app Yammer targeted by predators and drug pushers
A social networking tool made available to every schoolchild in Scotland has been infiltrated by graphic content, drug pushers and individuals identifying themselves as paedophiles.
An investigation by The Courier has revealed shocking oversights in the rollout of Yammer — a Microsoft application available as part of Glow, Education Scotland’s national “digital learning platform”.
Within minutes of accessing the application, The Courier was able to uncover conversation threads where drugs and alcohol were being offered to young children, along with addresses for where these could be purchased.
In one instance, an individual with a misspelling of the word paedophile in his username was seen asking young girls for the location of a sleepover and offering to bring a variety of illegal substances.
He later wrote to another profile: “Come to mine. Drugs, alcohol and ice cream supplied.”
Education Scotland acknowledged in their own privacy impact assessment that there “may be a greater likelihood of inappropriate content and behavior “following the introduction of Yammer to the Glow platform”.
However, the system’s “keyword monitoring facility” — designed to flag up concerning terms in private or public conversations — appears to be unable to recognise even slightly modified spellings of concerning phrases.
In another section dealing with worries that “learners could be identified and located by someone who would wish to do them harm”, it is written that stakeholders had decided “the educational benefit of this functionality outweighs the risk”.
Large numbers of parents were reportedly not made aware that their children had been signed up for the social networking tool or asked permission for their information to be shared.
“The decision to give pupils access to the system rests with the relevant education establishment and local authority, and it would be for them to decide on seeking parental consent.