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12-07-17 Better Iternet Children En

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   1  Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor on the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - European Strategy for a Better Internet for Children THE EUROPEAN DATA PROTECTION SUPERVISOR, Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in  particular Article 16 thereof, Having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and in  particular Articles 7 and 8 thereof, Having regard to Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of  personal data and on the free movement of such data 1 , Having regard to Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2000 on the protection of individuals with regard to the  processing of personal d ata by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data 2 , and in particular Article 41(2) thereof, HAS ADOPTED THE FOLLOWING OPINION  I. INTRODUCTION I.1. Consultation of the EDPS 1.   On 2 May 2012, the Commission published its Communication on a European Strategy for a Better Internet for Children 3  (hereafter 'the Communication'). 2.   Before the adoption of this Communication, the EDPS was given the opportunity to provide informal comments. The EDPS welcomes that some of his informal comments have been taken into account in the Communication. In view of the importance of the subject, the EDPS would still like to submit this opinion at his own initiative. 1  OJ L 281, 23.11.1995, p. 31.  2  OJ L 8, 12.01.2001, p. 1. 3  COM (2012) 196 final.   2 I.2. Objectives and background of the Communication 3.   The objective of the Communication is to develop a strategy to enhance the  protection of children online. The Communication is placed in the context of   the EU Agenda for the Rights of the Child, 4  the Digital Agenda for Europe, 5  and the Council Conclusions on the Protection of Children in the Digital World. 6  4.   The Communication is centred on four main pillars: (1)   stimulating quality content online for young people; (2)   stepping up awareness and empowerment; (3)   creating a safe environment for children online; and (4)   fighting against sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children. 5.   The Communication outlines a number of actions to be taken by industry, the Member States and the Commission, respectively. It covers issues such as  parental controls, privacy settings, age ratings, reporting tools, hotlines, and cooperation between industry, hotlines and law enforcement bodies. I.3. Objectives and scope of the EDPS Opinion 6.   The EDPS fully supports initiatives aimed at strengthening the protection of children on the Internet and at improving the means to fight against abuse of children online 7 . In two previous Opinions, the EDPS has underlined the importance of the protection and safety of children online in a data protection  perspective 8 . He welcomes that this has been recognised in the Communication. 7.   The growing use of the digital environment by children and the constant evolution of that environment pose new data protection and privacy risks, which are exposed in point 1.2.3 of the Communication. Such risks include, amongst others, misuse of their personal data, the unwanted dissemination of their personal profile on social networking sites, their growing use of geo-location services, their being increasingly directly subject to advertising campaigns and to serious crimes such as child abuse. These are particular risks that must be addressed in a manner appropriate to the specificity and vulnerability of the category of individuals at risk. 4  EU Agenda for the Rights of the Child, COM(2011) 60 final. 5  Digital Agenda for Europe, COM(2010) 245 final. 6  Council Conclusions on the Protection of Children in the Digital World, 3128th EDUCATION, YOUTH, CULTURE and SPORT Council meeting Brussels, 28 and 29 November 2011. 7  There are also a number of initiatives at international level, such as the Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2012-2015), CM(2011)171 final 15 February 2012. 8  See EDPS Opinion on the Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a multiannual Community programme on protecting children using the Internet and other communication technologies, published in OJ C2, 7.01.2009, p. 2, and EDPS Opinion on the Proposal for a Directive on combating sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, repealing framework Decision 2004/68/JHA, published in OJ C 323, 30.11.2010, p. 6.   38.   The EDPS welcomes that the actions envisaged in the Communication should respect the current data protection framework (including Directive 95/46/EC and Directive 2002/58/EC 9  on e-privacy), the e-Commerce Directive 2000/31/EC 10  and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, and  that it also takes into account the proposed new data protection framework  11 . The EDPS stresses that all measures to be deployed further to the Communication should be consistent with this framework. 9.   This Opinion highlights the specific data protection issues that are raised by the measures foreseen in the Communication, which must be properly addressed by all the relevant addressees of the Communication, i.e. the Commission, the Member States and industry, where applicable. In particular, Chapter II underlines the specific means which can help enhance the  protection and safety of children online from a data protection perspective. In Chapter III, the Opinion highlights some data protection issues that need to be addressed for the implementation of measures aimed at fighting against sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children on the Internet, in particular concerning the use of reporting tools and the cooperation between industry, law enforcement and hotlines. II. THE PROTECTION OF PERSONAL DATA OF CHILDREN ON THE INTERNET II.1. Recognising reinforced rights to data protection for children online 10.   The use of the Internet by children raises specific data protection issues. On the Internet, children are more vulnerable than other groups of users since they are even less equipped than others to fully understand the value of the data they disclose and the dangers that may be associated with such disclosure. Young children may not realise the consequences of their actions, or know how to manage their privacy settings. It may be difficult for them to realize that web services may be designed in a way that leads children to disclosing  personal data (contact details, for example) to a wider audience than intended, with broad consequences in terms of misuse of their personal data, from  behavioural targeting to cyber bullying and sexual exploitation. 11.   From a legal perspective, children are considered as a specific category of individuals which deserves a particular, and reinforced, protection. Specific rights have been granted to children in several international charters and 9  Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the  processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector, OJEU L 201, 31/07/2002, pp. 37-47. 10  Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market, OJEU 178 L, 17/07/2000, pp. 1-16. 11  Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation), COM(2012) 11 final.   4conventions 12 , notably including their right to privacy 13 . From a data  protection perspective, EU law does not currently set out a specific regime for children; children benefit from the general protection guaranteed in the data  protection Directive 95/46/EC. However, data protection authorities in Europe have recognised the specific needs of that group of individuals and have called for the respect of their rights to privacy and data protection in a manner appropriate to their level of maturity and comprehension, and in due respect of their best interest 14 . 12.   Furthermore, in the proposed General Data Protection Regulation children would benefit from a specific recognition. Article 4(18) expressly defines a child as any person below the age of 18 years. The proposed Regulation foresees specific measures to ensure the effective realisation of adequate data  protection for children. These measures require data controllers to provide information and communication in a language that the child can easily understand, to respect specific conditions for the processing of children's data, to implement special forms for gaining the consent for data processing, to  provide them with a 'right to be forgotten' online, and to protect them from  profiling 15 . The EDPS has welcomed these measures in his Opinion on the data protection reform package 16 . 13.   In the EU, the extent to which children can take valid action on their own, and without parental consent, with respect to the processing of their personal data is often linked to their ability to act under national civil and criminal law. The age from which children may take certain valid action on the Internet varies in Member States. To some extent, this may have been a source of legal uncertainty for organisations having children as their target audience on the Internet. These organisations have been unsure about the requirements concerning the processing of personal data of children. The proposed Data Protection Regulation has tackled the issue of age by proposing to clarify that the processing of personal data of children below the age of 13 years in the context of information society services would only be lawful if and to the extent that consent is given or authorised by their parents or custodians.  A contrario , children above 13 years would be able to act on their own to take decisions relating to the processing of their personal data. 14.   The Communication has fully embraced the importance of giving children specific and effective means to protect their personal data online, appropriate to their age group. In particular, it foresees a number of actions to be deployed 12  See amongst others the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention for the  protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. 13  For example Article 16 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. 14  See Article 29 Working Party Opinion 2/2009 on the protection of children's personal data (General Guidelines and the special case of schools), 11 February 2009, WP 160, http://ec.europa.eu/justice/policies/privacy/docs/wpdocs/2009/wp160_en.pdf . 15  See amongst others recitals 29, 38, 46 and Articles 6(1)(f), 6(5), 8, 11(2), 17, 33(2)(d), 38(1)(e), and 52(2). 16  Opinion of the EDPS on the Data Protection Reform Package, 7 March 2012, OJ C 137, 12.05.2012,  p. 1.

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Jul 23, 2017
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