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The Social Democrats are seeking cross party support for legal changes to ban the commercial monetisation of the digital data of children and teens under the age of 18.

The party is today tabling amendments to the government’s Data Protection Bill 2018 to prohibit the use of children’s data for marketing purposes.

The party’s co-leader Róisín Shortall TD said:

“We may all agree that harvesting the personal data of children online for commercial marketing purposes is repugnant. But if this practice isn’t clearly prohibited in our laws, then there is no incentive for large scale data processing companies to stop the practice.

“I don’t believe that we can trust the likes of Facebook, Google, and Snapchat to use children’s data responsibly. Time and again, they have only acted to tighten privacy controls when they are caught out, or in response to massive public pressure.

“I am not alleging that anything they did, or are currently doing, is illegal. But that is at the core of the problem. These companies may stick by the letter of the law, but their sole concern is their bottom line.

“This is why we are tabling amendments to the Data Protection Bill 2018 at its committee stage hearing today. Firstly, we would raise the digital age of consent from 13 to 16 to ensure parents retain a right to decide what platforms are appropriate for their kids to access. Secondly, we would prohibit the use of children’s online data for commercial marketing purposes by banning the practice of ‘profiling’ for under 18-year-olds. I hope that my colleagues in other parties will support our amendments to put in place practical protections for children and teenagers online.”


2 May 2018

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