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Roma, 8/11/2010 - Workshop: "Awareness raising on children's privacy protection"

By admin - Posted on 08 novembre 2010

Privacy concept for the project “Awareness  raising on children’s privacy protection”


Long lasting academic debate about the notion of privacy starts with understanding privacy as one's “right to be left alone”[1] and develops to its definitions such as “physical space where we can be free of interruption, intrusion, embarrassment, or accountability and the attempt to control the time and manner of disclosures of personal information about ourselves[2] or famous trio of “secrecy, anonymity and solitude”[3]. All these insights may be helpful in terms of children privacy protection, however their use becomes too complicated for their indeterminacy in legal terms.

When the lack of single privacy definition is acknowledged, it gives possibility to choose a certain definition of privacy for the specific context and environment.


 Various privacy articulations or aspects may be taken into consideration as actual and important for youth and their parents today.All main efforts to define privacy summarized into four main areas as informational, bodily, territorial privacy and privacy of communications may become a separate research object. Taking into account new technologies, such as video surveillance, biometric data, body scanners, drug testing, RFID, many children/youth may be physically involved in their direct usage and unable to protect their bodily privacy and physical selves from intrusiveness. However, due to the limited time and space of the project and the fact that bodily aspect is more evident in technological area but it is not very related to the Internet and its use, bodily aspect of privacy which refers to the protection of physical body against invasion may be eliminated from the research framework.

Moreover, privacy of communications including privacy of emails, confidentiality of telephone conversations, sms, and other forms of communications is also relevant for youth who are often immerse into mobile phone communications, conversations on chats, Skype etc., but it would also be advised to be left aside. In addition, we would not try to focus on territorial aspect of privacyreferring to the non-intrusiveness into the private environment, in a way such as searches or identification checking, as this aspect is not so closely related to modern electronic communications and thus is not very relevant the project.

Informational privacyor management of personal information so called data protection is the most significantaspect of privacy for youth in the age of modern communication technologies. All operations performed upon huge amounts of personal data uploaded on the Internet, such ascollection, processing, storage, handling, etc. may become reasons of privacy risks and couse seriuos concerns. In the framework of this project we propose to use the personal data definition[4]as any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person ('data subject'); an identifiable person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identification number or to one or more factors specific to his physical, physiological, mental, economic, cultural or social identity. 


 Research concept


The research consists of 2 parts: 1) target group needs analysis; 2) good practices analysis.

Research target groups:

  1. 13-18 years children
  2. teachers, service providers


I.                   Needs analysis

Needs analysis will be done through Questionnaire designed to 13-18 years children, teachers, service providers. Questionnaire for every target group consists of not more than 10 questions. We foresee to question 100 respondents of 13-18 years old, 30 parents, 10 services. Lithuanian Consumer Institute will  use a special  IT program for collecting answers and processing of results (in LT).

         The survey is designed to identify the needs of target groups (children, parents, teachers, service providers), lack of information and knowledge related to the behavior in electronic communication networks and control over one’s personal data, risks and gaps related to children privacy protection on the Internet, most recent infringements and violations of privacy online. The topics which can be developed and discussed are: Social networks (Facebook, Flicker), chats (Skype, messengers), blogs (personal stories, photos), purchases online (financial information), registration for music/films download and risks related thereto.

The target group which includes youth 13-18 years old will be respondents in the survey which will demonstrate:

-          which electronic communication tools, websites, social networks are used by youth,

-          which personal data are publish and which data seem the most sensitive/private for youth,

-          which data from special categories of data (data revealing racial, ethnic origin, political opinion, religious and philosophical beliefs, data concerning health and sex life) are published on the Internet the most,

-          how many young people and how often remain anonymous or create false identities,

-           how much youth is aware of the consequences and lose of control over personal data,

-          how many young people avoid certain privacy unfriendly websites,

-          importance of the familiarity with privacy policies of websites, awareness about data protection institutions and competencies.

Parents and teachers would be asked if they have ever used the social networks themselves, if they know the functioning and threats, their attitude toward Privacy on the Internet.



II. Good practice in LT and IT


  1. Legislative  environment(Laws on children data protection, Regulations for data controllers, businessmen, service providers related to the publication of personal data on the Internet, Guidelinesprepared by DPAs for publication of children personal data on the Internet )
  2. Self-regulation(codes of conduct and/or provisions in codes of conducts concerning protection of children’s privacy)

3.      Complaints concerning violations of children’s privacy(DPA, Children’s rights Ombudsman 2008-2009 )

4.      Courts decisions

5.      Academic studies, researches

6.      Education initiatives in LT and IT(not all, but regarded as good practices)

[1]Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis, The Right to Privacy, 4 Harvard Law Review 193-220 (1890).

[2]Robert Ellis Smith, Ben Franklin's Web Site 6 (Sheridan Books 2000).

[3]Ruth Gavison,Privacy and the Limits of Law, 89 Yale Law Journal 421, 428 (1980).

[4]Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data

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