European Parliament to “protect children in the online world”


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On 10 July, the EP Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs adopted a draft opinion on “Protecting children in the digital world”. This opinion will be transmitted to the Committee on Culture and Education, the lead committee, for consideration during their committee vote in September.

The opinion was prepared by Swedish Socialist Anna Hedh and mostly addresses children's protection online from the threats of bullying, sexual predators and child pornography. However, the draftswoman did include a reference to exposure of minors to “age-inappropriate advertising” and mentioned the importance of children's data protection especially as regards their activities in online social networks.

Importantly, a compromise amendment was adopted incorporating an amendment tabled by Anna Maria Corrazza Bildt, a Swedish conservative, referring to the EU Pledge:

8a. Highlights the role of the private sector and industry, besides other stakeholders, as regards their responsibility, such as the issue of aggressive and misleading TV and online advertising towards minors, child safe labelling for web pages, and promotion of “netiquettes “for children; any such measures should fully respect the rule of law and legal certainty, take into account the rights of end users and comply with existing legal and judicial procedures and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, as well as ECJ and ECHR case-law; calls on the industry to respect and fully implement existing codes of conduct and similar initiatives such as the EU pledge and the Barcelona Declaration of the Consumer Goods Forum;

This new paragraph is the result of a compromise between different political groups represented in this committee, and therefore reflects the consensual view of different sensitivities. It is noteworthy that a reference to the EU Pledge – unprompted – was supported by the various groups.

Next steps: The opinion will now be transferred to members of the Culture Committee for their consideration, and will be put to a vote on 19 September. WFA will engage with key MEPs from the Culture Committee to help ensure that this paragraph is supported in the final draft of the report.

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