Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Protecting Children's Privacy Online

Federica Casarosa, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, has published Child Privacy Protection Online: How to Improve it Through Code and Self-Regulatory Tools. Here is the abstract.

The accomplishment of an adequate level of privacy is one of the main concerns related to the increasing diffusion of Information and Communication Technologies, due to the expanding possibilities to collect, organise and store thousands of data.

Social studies show that children are more and more interested in new technologies, and Internet in particular offers them new forms of socialisation not available before. When surfing, children leave traces of their passage and provide information about themselves. These pieces of information can be easily organised so as to create a full-fledged profile which would serve for marketing purposes. Thus, websites can monitor and understand what attracts children to the site and then tailor the content and services based on the children's identified interests.

The paper will analyse the changes in the policy approach at European level concerning the protection of children privacy, using a very wide concept of privacy which is interpreted as form of control over personal data. Thus, the analysis will consider in particular the commercial exploitation of personal data, as in this case it is clear that the child lost the control over his/her own data. The analysis will be based on a modified version of the all-embracing matrix developed by Gunningham and Sinclair (1998) concerning the design of the most effective regulatory mix, taking into account the different mechanisms that at European level were put forward. Given the final evaluation of the current regulatory mix, a tentative conclusion will be presented delivering suggestions and comments for further improvement.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

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