EU Introduces 16+ Age Limit for Using Social Networks

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The European Parliament adopted a law on data protection General Data Protection Regulation, which prohibits young people under 16 years old to register on social networks. Under the new law, the company is entitled to process the personal data of a teenager under 16 years only with parental consent.

This means effectively block the access of teenagers to social networks in the absence of parental control. And not only in social networks, but also to any other services that handle personal information. The law should come into force in early 2017. It is the default valid in all 28 EU countries, but each country has the right to unilaterally lower the age limit for its citizens.

The law should come into force in early 2017. It is the default valid in all 28 EU countries, but each country has the right to unilaterally lower the age limit for its citizens.

The vote on the bill in the European Parliament took place on Tuesday, December 15th. Similar restrictions apply in the EU is now for children up to 13 years, so Facebook and other social network websites do not allow to register children under this age.

The new bill simply raise the minimum age from 13 to 16 years. To sign up for services like Facebook, Snapchat, Whatsapp or Instagram, adolescent need to give explicit consent of a parent or guardian. It is interesting that the new rules expressed everything: not only the technology companies that naturally, but human rights activists advocating for children. They

It is interesting that the new rules expressed everything: not only the technology companies that naturally, but human rights activists advocating for children. They warn that the new rules make it difficult to use social networking teens, made without consultation and public debate.

The group of experts and non-governmental organizations to protect the rights of children have written an open letter to the European legislature, which express their arguments against the new age limit. They point out that the bill violates the fundamental right of children to education and communication.

For IT-companies the main problem is that the new law would be technically difficult to comply with. It is not clear what should be the procedure for obtaining parental consent and how to check then the presence of parental control when using the service.

In addition to raising the age limit rules General Data Protection Regulation introduced the practice of fines of up to 4% of the annual income for IT-companies for violating the rules of personal data users online.

In addition, so-called “right to oblivion” (complete removal of personal data from the database) is now enshrined in law. Internet companies will also be required within three days to report any break-ins associated with data leakage.

In the end, the rules apply absolutely to all Internet companies, even the US, if some members are citizens of European Union countries.

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