An anonymous reader sends word of new data protection rules up for vote in the European Parliament which would make it illegal for companies to handle the data of children aged 15 and younger. Currently, such data processing is prohibited only for kids 12 and under. This would affect European teenagers' ability to use Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and many other social media services. This amendment has been opposed not only by the tech companies involved, but by many child safety experts as well: Janice Richardson, former coordinator of European Safer Internet network, and consultant to the United Nations' information technology body, the ITU and the Council of Europe said: "Moving the age from 13 to 16 represents a major shift in policy on which it seems there has been no public consultation. "We feel that moving the requirement for parental consent from age 13 to age 16 would deprive young people of educational and social opportunities in a number of ways, yet would provide no more (and likely even less) protection." Larry Magid, chief executive of ConnectSafely.org, said: "It will have the impact of banning a very significant percentage of youth and especially the most vulnerable ones who will be unable to obtain parental consent for a variety of reasons."
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