Facebook policy director to join academics, regulators and industry representatives at children’s digital rights forum

Friday 10 November 2017

‘Unless and until governments - ours and others - stop giving tech a free pass, we will have a situation where the needs of multinational corporations are given precedent over the needs of children.’

That’s the stark warning from leading children's rights campaigner and filmmaker Baroness Beeban Kidron (left).

She will be speaking at the Information Law and Policy Centre’s (ILPC) Annual Conference 2017 – Children and Digital Rights: Regulating Freedoms and Safeguards – at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in London next week (17 November).

The event will bring together academic experts, regulators, data protection authorities, and industry, including Simon Milner, Facebook's policy director for the UK to examine the laws and policies being used and currently under review by Parliament (Data Protection Bill 2017) to safeguard children’s freedoms and rights.

‘The Internet provides children with more opportunities to discover, create, learn, share, and engage with society than ever before and this should be welcomed’, says Dr Nóra Ni Loideain (below), director of the ILPC, part of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies at the School of Advanced Study, University of London.

‘However, all too often these great opportunities also present challenges of unnecessary targeting and monitoring, and exposure to inappropriate, manipulated, or false information that may threaten the adequate protection of children’s rights and freedoms.’

Top of the conference’s agenda will be investigating how policy-makers, the tech industry, data protection authorities, civil society, and academic experts can play a role in the development of policies that ensure the adequate protection of a child’s rights to privacy, freedom of expression, and safety, both online and offline.

Baroness Kidron’s will deliver the ILPC’s Annual Lecture. It will launch the debate and discussion on these crucial policy-making questions currently before Parliament (and under review by other governments worldwide) for the conference panels.

Baroness Kidron also notes that ‘One person’s regulatory boundaries are often someone else's freedom. The digital environment is designed with adults in mind, but a third of its nearly 3 billion users are children. This is not a question of locking them out, or sticking them in walled gardens.

‘This is a societal shift that says the digital environment must take account of the age of the user, when that user is a child. Because children are children until they reach maturity, not until they reach for their smartphone.’

Other speakers, including experts from industry, leading legal practitioners, policy-makers and academia, will provide a range of national and international legal insights and perspectives from the UK, Israel, Australia, and Europe.

Topics range from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the EU General Data Protection Regulation, to the UK Data Protection Bill 2017, which gives people the right to have public bodies and companies to grant access to, delete, or explain how they use or share their personal data. It’s a timely event given increasing concern about children’s safety and well-being in their ever-expanding digital environments.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Anna Morgan, Deputy Data Protection Commissioner of Ireland
  • Lisa Atkinson, Information Commissioner’s Office
  • Graham Smith, solicitor and leading expert in UK Internet law
  • John Carr, UK Council on Child Internet Safety
  • Professor Ian Walden, Queen Mary University of London
  • Rachael Bishop, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

The ILPC’s Annual Conference and Lecture, Children and Digital Rights: Regulating Freedoms and Safeguards, will take place on Friday, 17 November, 9.30am–5.30pm, at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR. An evening reception follows.


Notes for editors:

1. For further information please contact Maureen McTaggart, Media and Public Relations Officer, School of Advanced Study, University of London. maureen.mctaggart@sas.ac.uk / 020 7862 8653. Images available on request.

2. The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) supports and leads legal research in its broadest sense, both nationally and internationally. Founded in 1947, it houses specialist research centres and innovative partnerships and is home to an active community of researchers, fellows, and postgraduate students. It promotes new research agenda in specialist and interdisciplinary areas of law with direct effect on policy and practice. It provides research training and online services, a meeting place for organisations and legal scholars from around the globe, one of the world’s great legal research libraries, and a busy programme of seminars and public events. www.ials.sas.ac.uk

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