International Data Protection Authorities Call for Action to Protect Children's Online Privacy



    STRASBOURG, France, Oct. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - International data protection
authorities (DPAs) concluded their annual meeting in Strasbourg, France by
endorsing a resolution brought forward by the Office of the Privacy
Commissioner of Canada that called for an international effort to protect the
privacy of children online.
    "Young people today are sophisticated users of the Internet, and they use
this medium with ease and enthusiasm," says Jennifer Stoddart, Canada's
Privacy Commissioner. While the opportunities are tremendous, we must ensure
that they understand the impact that these technologies can have on their
privacy, and provide them with the tools and information they need to make
smart decisions."
    The resolution, which was cosponsored by DPAs from New Zealand, France,
Ireland, Berlin, and the United Kingdom, acknowledges that while many young
people recognize the risks associated with their online activities, they often
lack the experience, technical knowledge and tools to mitigate those risks. In
addition, they are sometimes unaware of their own legal rights.
    The DPAs found that a global commitment to education and increasing
awareness is needed to ensure that children and young people around the world
have access to a safe online environment respectful of their privacy. They are
also calling on industry to take greater responsibility for protecting user
privacy in the online environments they create for children.
    In Canada, the federal, provincial and territorial privacy commissioners
and ombudspersons have grown increasingly concerned about the impact of
Internet use on the private lives of children, and have been working to
address this issue. Earlier this year, they issued a joint resolution
expressing their commitment to work together to improve the state of online
privacy for children and young people. The resolution builds on the work that
many of the provinces and territories have undertaken with their respective
ministries of education and local authorities to increase awareness and
knowledge of this issue. They also launched www.youthprivacy.ca, a website
that offers advice about how youth can protect their personal information and
take charge of how their identity is being shaped online. The site features a
blog where young Canadians can discuss how technology is affecting their
privacy, and a new interactive privacy quiz.
    DPAs from every continent gathered in Strasbourg this week to participate
in the 30th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy
Commissioners (www.privacyconference2008.org). The theme of this year's
conference was "protecting privacy in a borderless world". The aim of the
conference was to identify major challenges arising from the fact that privacy
in an international context is subject to powerful technological, political,
legal and economic developments. In addition to the resolution on children's
online privacy, the DPAs also adopted a number of other resolutions at the
Conference and these will be posted on the conference website.
    Accredited data protection authorities are considered premier experts on
the principles and practice of data protection and privacy in their
jurisdiction. They are also recognized as being independent with a clear
mandate to promote and protect data protection and privacy across a wide
sphere of activity.
    The 30th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy
Commissioners was jointly hosted by the President of the French Data
Protection Authority and the German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection
and Freedom of Information in Strasbourg, France. The annual conference, which
brings together 78 DPAs and privacy commissioners from every continent, took
place from October 15 to October 17.

    The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is mandated by
Parliament to act as an ombudsman, advocate and guardian of privacy rights in
Canada.
    The resolution on children's online privacy can be found at
www.privcom.gc.ca.




For further information:

For further information: and/or media interview requests: Heather
Ormerod, Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, (613) 995-1048,
hormerod@privcom.gc.ca


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