King’s College London (KCL) has been criticised this week for supposedly ‘spying on student’s emails’ in what has been described an outrageous invasion of their privacy.
It is claimed that the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy, Prevent, which aims to stop people being drawn into terrorism, is the problem.The President of the National Union of Students (NUS), Malia Bouattia, said of the email monitoring ‘this is yet another example of how the Prevent agenda turns our educational institutions against their own students, perpetuates a culture of fear, restricts academic freedoms and normalises Islamophobia.’
A spokesperson for the KCL’s students’ union said it was ‘a violation of trust, and complained that ‘students who have not committed any crimes are being treated as suspects.’ In reality, there is no evidence that the ‘Prevent agenda’ is behind this. King’s College London’s own policy on email monitoring predates 2015 when Prevent became a statutory obligation for Universities in the UK. Viewing extremist and/or terrorist content is forbidden under King’s email regulations and is designated under a category of email content which is prohibited from sending or receiving.