Getting a cup of coffee or tea now requires a means of recording. Academic staff have a tag which is linked to their personal account. Students must pay for their drinks through MyNetPay, the system they are already using to print documents. So, is EUR now tracking whether I prefer a cappuccino to a filtered coffee? And what is it going to do with these data?

Why do we require means of recording to get some coffee?

The university claims that the drinks served by the old coffee machines were not just drunk by people working in the relevant department. Students, visitors and employees of other companies working on the campus would also enjoy the odd cup of coffee or tea. In addition, some employees of one department would drink coffee at other departments, due to EUR’s flexible work spaces.

What’s so bad about that?

Well, this coffee could be obtained for free. The bills were sent to the department which housed the coffee machine. In this way, some departments were faced with bills which did not accurately reflect the amount of coffee drunk by its employees. The new registration method will prevent this from happening.

So now EUR basically keeps track of how much coffee I’m drinking?

Yes, but only to be able to pay the supplier’s bills and to be able to determine from which department the employees who are getting their coffee or tea are, EUR says. This will allow the supplier to send its bills to the right department.

How long will EUR store these data?

MyNetPay will retain students’ data for up to one year. Students will be able to check on the website what kind of information the company holds on them. MyNetPay is linked to students’ ERNA account, but the company cannot trace this information to the person holding the ERNA account. EUR is unable to inspect students’ payment data, and therefore does not know how much coffee each student drinks.

However, things are different for academic staff. Employees’ payment data are linked to their accounts, since the bills for their drinks must be sent to the department that has hired them. EUR stores these data for as long as it is necessary to be able to trace coffee-vending data to a certain department. The data are destroyed at the end of each financial year.