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Dáil votes for amendment to protect children from profiling and marketing online – Ó Laoghaire

16 May, 2018 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

A Sinn Féin Amendment to ban the commercial exploitation of children's data has passed in the Dáil today.

The amendment, was supported by organisations such as the Irish Heart Foundation, was moved by Sinn Féin Justice & Equality Spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire will see children protected from direct marketing, profiling and data harvesting.

Speaking this evening, Teachta Ó Laoghaire said;

“The purpose of the amendment is to restrict the profiling, harvesting, and targeting of children by companies who advertise on social media. This is, I believe, a very important measure to introduce if we truly are to protect children from harmful marketing online.

“Currently, young people are very much exposed to data profiling and targeting, by commercial organisations and businesses. That is something that needs to be tackled, there are very serious risks in this regard, particularly when targeting harmful goods or products, or pushing an agenda which is harmful, such as making young people excessively conscious of their appearance and body.

“Many children will not be aware how their actions online influence the adverts that they see, and will not be aware of the extent to which their data is being gathered, the profile that is being built up on them and the way it is being used to exploit them.

“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 I very much welcome that the Dáil has taken a massive step towards doing exactly that.” 

Note: The amendment as passed 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.

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