Monday 23 September 2019

Ombudsman for Children expresses concern over rise in age of digital consent

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Claire Murphy

Claire Murphy

The Ombudsman for Children has expressed concern politicians may be trying to raise the age of digital consent from 13 to 16.

Dr Niall Muldoon said that although the Government announced the digital age of consent would be set at 13, political parties have intended tabling amendments to the bill.

"Child protection and data protection are not the same. The digital age of consent is about the age at which young people can agree to the processing of their personal data," he said. "The protection it can offer is limited: it is not designed for protecting children from the multiple risks they may encounter online."

Individuals in the digital rights sphere - including representatives from ISPCC, the Institute of Cyber Security and Digital Youth Council - have also called for the age of consent to be set at 13.

"If it is set to 16, online platforms would be able to argue their spaces are for adults only and reduce protections accordingly. Put simply, the higher age gives parents an illusion of control while at the same time letting industry off the hook," they said.

The Data Protection Bill is to be debated today by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice and Equality.

Irish Independent

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