HSE warns parents not to name children with Covid in WhatsApp groups

The HSE has issued a warning to families not to use group chats to name children with the virus
HSE warns parents not to name children with Covid in WhatsApp groups

James Cox

Parents found to be spreading misinformation or personal data in WhatsApp groups could be in breach of data protection laws and may be sued.

This comes after primary schools were told they no longer need to inform parents if a child has Covid-19.

The HSE has issued a warning to families not to use group chats to name children with the virus.

'Legal grey area'

Data expert Darragh O’Brien says if parents do so they could find themselves in a “legal grey area”.

“Processing of information for domestic use, for your own personal or household use, is outside the scope of the legislation. But once you move into an organised public sharing of information, even if you are not a school or a business etc, you're in that grey area where you could actually fall within the scope of the legislation.”

Meanwhile, a mother whose child has been “outed” as a Covid close contact in a parent’s WhatsApp group has described group chats as very dangerous.

Founder of mams.ie Siobhan O’Neill says rumours are already swirling in some parent groups.

Ms O'Neill told Newstalk: “I've seen people saying 'such and such has Covid' and 'they got it from such and such', and that information hasn't actually been true. They are very very dangerous [WhatsApp groups] and the schools have no control over what people do outside of their property, and they have no control over what students do on social media.”

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