Privacy Advisor

Global Privacy Dispatches- France- Note2be

May 1, 2008

By Pascale Gelly

Bad Grade for Grading Site

"Take the power, grade your teacher" is the claim of Internet site www.Note2be.com, which gave students the opportunity to grade their teachers and professors online. The site published the names of teachers or professors, the subject taught, the school or college where they practiced and the average grade given to them by Internet users, including a "Top 10" list.

The professors whose names appeared on the site initiated emergency judiciary proceedings on the basis of their rights to privacy and to the protection of personal data. As a result, the Paris criminal court ordered on March 3, 2008 the removal of the names of professors online.

In parallel, the French Data Protection Authority (CNIL), involved by trade unions, considered in an opinion on March 6 that this site did not meet the condition of legitimacy imposed on the processing of personal data by the data protection law for several reasons: 1) It could be mistaken for an official grading system. 2) Grading was too subjective and 3) its quality could not be verified and most of all, 4) the site owner had not obtained the prior consent of the concerned professors. Still, the site owners have announced that they will bring an appeal against the court decision on the ground of freedom of expression, as their site lost great interest now that the names have been removed.