The Sunday Times has alleged that online gambling companies, including Kindred-owned 32Red, and Betfair, have indirectly gained access to an educational database in what is being widely reported as one of the UK’s biggest ever government data breaches.
The Sunday Times has said the educational database, which is maintained by the Department for Education (DfE), contains the “names, ages and addresses of 28 million children and students” aged 14 and above, and is intended for the purpose of verifying academic records and other educational needs.
It is alleged that Chester-based intelligence firm GB Group Plc had, through a partnership with employment screening firm Trust Systems Software (commonly known as ‘Trustopia’), been able to reference the educational database.
Kindred Group, along with the Betting and Gaming Council, have both vigorously denied there is any truth to the allegations, calling them “untrue and unfounded.”
The Betting and Gaming Council has, however, confirmed that GB Group does provide age-verification services to many organisations, including banks, government agencies and betting companies. Both Betfair and 32Red have been confirmed as customers of GB Group.
However, the Department for Education (DfE) has insisted that the database can only be used for educational purposes, and a furious DfE Secretary Gavin Williamson ordered access to the database shutdown and an immediate investigation. He has also vowed to take “the strongest possible action” against the firm/s involved.
Both GB Group and Trustopia have denied they illegally accessed DfE data.