UCAS Condemned for Selling Students' Data
18 March 2014
campaigners have condemned the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS)
for its ‘underhand’ use of students’ data for commercial advertisers.
received more than £12m last year in return for sending targeted advertising to subscribers. The service sells the
access via its commercial arm, Ucas Media.
Vodafone, O2, Microsoft and the private university
accommodation provider Pure Student Living are among those who have marketed
through UCAS, which offers access to over a million student email addresses and
a market worth a claimed £15bn a year.
Meanwhile, the UCAS offshoot
Ucas Progress, set up two years ago to serve pupils from aged 13 looking for
post-16 courses, is also collecting data. Children who sign up for Ucas
Progress via their schools are encouraged by the company to agree to receive
marketing by email from ‘carefully selected third parties’.
Emma Carr, deputy director of the privacy lobby group Big
Brother Watch, said: ‘UCAS is perfectly within the law to sell on this
information, but the way they are doing so, as is the situation with most data
gathering organisations, is underhand. It goes far beyond what students would
expect them to do with their data. Students should be explicitly asked for their permission before
UCAS can sell their information on and UCAS should be open and transparent
about who it is selling the data on to.’
University applicants are given
the option of refusing mailings when they register with UCAS. However, the
application form does not distinguish between commercial mailings and
information from universities and potential employers.
A UCAS spokesperson said: ‘UCAS
and Ucas Media comply strictly with all applicable laws and regulations, in the
way in which we handle personal data. Ucas Media has strict guidelines for the
different groups that we may cover, based on the age sensitivities of our
audiences. For example, Ucas Media does not accept political, alcohol or
tobacco related products for marketing.’
UCAS's accounts say ‘the majority’ of Ucas Media's profits are
gift aided to the parent company, which is a charity as well as a company. It
argues that the contribution keeps down applicant fees, currently £23 per
London Children Smash World Samba Record
8 March 2014
Over 1,600 children, aged 7 to 16, from 27 London schools, have
broken the world record for the largest samba band.
The performance was the culmination of a 10-week intensive samba
course with Inspire-works facilitators in preparation for the attempt. Teaching
material was specially written in consultation with Trinity College London, and
the children obtained a “Discover” Arts Award for taking part.
The event, part of a partnership between the
Royal Albert Hall, Street Child World Cup and Inspire-Works, will be broadcast on Blue
Peter later in the month.
The official World Record now stands at 1638.
European Youth Summer Music in 22nd Year
8 March 2014
The 22nd European Youth Summer Music (EYSM) takes place from 3-9 August at Ardingly College in West Sussex. Run for 11-21s
from all over Europe, EYSM is an orchestral course run entirely by
its conductors, tutors, parents and volunteers as a charity, yet has
support from trusts and companies, as well as personal donations and membership
well as working on orchestral repertoire, participants can work with the Two
Composers in Residence to create their own short piece for an orchestra or
chamber group. In 'Options' they can do two sessions of Chamber Music each
day, or fill those sessions with Jazz, Improvisation, Big Band, World Music,
Chamber Choir, Solo Vocal and more. Everything that is concert-ready is
welcomes enquiries from 11-21s at email@example.com
It also has a junior arm and welcomes enquiries from 8-11s at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bursaries are available.
Royal Marines Attempt World's Longest Drum Roll
4 March 2014
This May Bank Holiday, over 50
members of the Royal Marines Corps of Drums (COD) will attempt to break the
world record for the longest continuous drum roll. Currently set at 28 hours,
19 minutes and 3 seconds, the COD will be attempting to smash the record by
aiming for 64 hours.
The World Record Attempt will be
used to support the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund, as part of the Royal
Marines 350th anniversary.
Problems that could scupper the
World Record Attempt are many – as well as fatigue and problems related to
technique, broken sticks and skins are also a real worry. To this end, Premier
Percussion has donated a specially-designed single-snare drum for the event.
This precision-made instrument has been developed with durability and
robustness the most important consideration. Premier has also supplied the COD
with suitable sticks.
A representative from Guinness
World Records Ltd will be in attendance during the final stages of the WRA as
part of the validation process. Expert invigilators from the drumming community
will also be present throughout the event, including Bob Armstrong, Craig Blundell,
James Hester, Matt King and Sven Parris.
Music For All Announces Learn To Play
28 February 2014
The third national Learn To Play Day will take place on 12 April.
Organised by Music For All in partnership with the
Musicians Union, Take It Away, Music Teachers and MusicRadar, the event offers more than 10,000 free instrument
‘taster’ lessons for people of all ages.
Over 100 musical instrument shops and other venues throughout the UK
will host events offering anyone who would like to try an instrument the
opportunity to have a free lesson.
Full details of the event, including participating shops and local
appearances, can be found on the Learn To Play website
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