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Council of Europe: being more alert on the protection “of children’s personal data, especially data on health or collected at school”

“Upgrading security measures against the use of children’s personal data, especially data on their health or collected in educational settings”: this is the call made today by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to the European states, in a statement that has been prompted by concern for the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic on children, because of their increased online activity. Risks include the traceability of children’s activities in the digital environment, which may expose them to crime, such as grooming, blackmailing or sexual exploitation, or, again, discrimination, harassment, bullying and others forms of abuse. The “long-term consequences” of the processing of biometrical data, of digital monitoring and surveillance or of profiling are not properly known yet: that’s why a high level of digital literacy is required for children and their parents, more efforts must be made to “promote children’s rights in the digital environment”, and the States must cooperate more to “jointly address” the risks posed by the development of Artificial Intelligence systems. So, on one hand, one should be “increasingly on the alert” but, at the same time, as the Committee of Ministers points out, measures should be taken to “reduce the divide among children to make sure they can fully benefit from their human rights”. There is an international convention about all this, the so-called “108+” which, however, has been ratified by just ten of the 47 member states so far.

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