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Parties must support measures to protect children from profiling and marketing online – Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

15 May, 2018 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin Justice & Equality Spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has called on all parties and none to support today’s amendments to the Data Protection Bill which would see children protected from direct marketing, profiling and data harvesting.

Speaking this morning Ó Laoghaire said;

“Both my own amendment, and the amendment submitted by Deputy Clare Daly and Deputy Roisin Shorthall are essentially the same in both their wording and their intention. The propose is to restrict the profiling, harvesting and targeting of children by companies who advertise on social media.

“This is an essential measure to introduce if we truly are to protect children from harmful marketing online. It is supported by organisations such as the Irish Heart Foundation among others. The amendment as submitted reads;

“Micro-targeting and profiling of children

30. It shall be an offence under this Act for any company or corporate body to process the personal data of a child as defined by section 29 for the purposes of direct marketing, profiling or micro-targeting. Such an offence shall be punishable by an administrative fine under section 140.

“Both Mícheál Martin, and Fianna Fáil health spokesperson Stephen Donnelly have stated as recently as yesterday that they wanted to see children protected from such practices online. Both these amendments do exactly that. So I hope that Fianna Fáil, as well as the parties who have submitted amendments, will support this.

“The Minister selectively quoted recital 47 of the GDPR in committee stage, but omitted that the purposes of direct marketing were superseded by the public interest.

“I do not believe that the capacity for such marketing should supersede the best interests of a child, such as for example in health, given that without the amendment data can be processed and profiled to directly target children online in a very sophisticated way, and this in a country that is set to be one of the most obese in Europe by 2030.  

“It is important as legislators we do our utmost to protect children from harm online, and today is an opportunity to make some significant headway in that regard.”

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