Should we allow 13 year olds to give away personal data online?

Judith Thompson  23-10-2017

The government hopes that the Data Protection Bill will pass into English law before Brexit and it's being rushed through the Commons and the Lords.

The Bill, which has recently been discussed in the House of Lords, was generally welcomed as it will allow people to access more information about what organisations do with data about them and will give people more rights to demand that data about them is deleted.

However, there is one provision in the Bill which was roundly criticised, which was the idea that a child can consent to their data being processed online from the age of 13. Criticisms included the provision being a breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

There was concern in the Lords that the age of 13 has been chosen by social media organisations and other online companies, and that this is being followed by the government, rather than the other way round.

Social media companies can profit from processing the data of its users, and serious questions arise as to whether, at the age of 13, a child can make an informed decision about giving away their personal data.  

Judith Thompson, partner at Samuels Solicitors, based in Devon, said: "Children and young people often use social media to their great advantage but they may not be so aware of the difficulties with removing personal data from the Internet, once it's been posted. It's so easy to click and disclose personal data to the world, but it can be incredibly difficult to retrieve it"

At Samuels Solicitors, we have a niche specialism assisting clients with the removal of unwanted data online. We have assisted many clients with applications to Google for the right to be forgotten, and with appeals to the Information Commissioner's Office. We undertake this work on a fixed-fee basis, which we will agree with you in advance, so there are no nasty surprises. 

If you want to get rid of unwanted online data about yourself, contact us today to see how we can help. 

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