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EU Censorship Facebook Privacy Social Networks

EU Rules Would Ban Kids Under 16 From Social Media (theguardian.com) 161

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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EU Rules Would Ban Kids Under 16 From Social Media

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  • Good! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The European youth needs discipline and direction. They are the heirs of the greatest civilization that has ever existed and will ever exist, after all. Obedience and a sense of purpose are important values.

    • Re:Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EmeraldBot ( 3513925 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2015 @05:03AM (#51128079)

      The European youth needs discipline and direction. They are the heirs of the greatest civilization that has ever existed and will ever exist, after all. Obedience and a sense of purpose are important values.

      Aside from the fact there is no "European" civilization (different parts of Europe are incredibly different, and you should know that), you are severely underestimating the east. Japan has more cultural wealth to it than most give it credit for, and has lasted (in a fairly contiguous form) for well over 2000 years. China's been around for over 10000. Korea has a history of almost 6000 years. All of them have a deep and complex culture, easily at the same level of Western civilization, and they've made many very important contributions. Native American tribes are among the oldest in the world, with many stories passed down through many thousands of years, and an immensely unique (if difficult) language. Africa falls into much of that too, with the world's very first humans having come from here, along with a wealth of natural resources. The Middle East has an almost as long ago history, with the world's very first civilization being founded here, and is filled with historic artifacts (or should I say, was). So yes, there is much more to the world than the little strip of land up north, and I say this as someone who is half from there.

      And really, this is all irrelevant anyway, because there is no greatest civilization. You cannot objectively measure the greatness of a society, only its relative impact on the world, and that changes according to the viewpoint. I don't see why we have to get into arguments with labeling: it is stupid to think yourself better than someone else merely because yours has more inventions, and about the only thing that's useful for is measuring the level of someone's worldly ignorance.

      • Jaysus! It's depressing when people don't even recognize the Third Reich references anymore....

        • Jaysus! It's depressing when people don't even recognize the Third Reich references anymore....

          I know...I laughed, and then I cried. You could probably reprint Hitler's speeches, change a few key words, and the masses would gobble it up.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Isn't that what Trump is doing?

            • No, it's what Trump's speech writers are doing, and the idiot himself probably doesn't even notice the position they''re manoeuvring him into.
        • Re:Good! (Score:4, Funny)

          by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2015 @10:29AM (#51129109)

          Jaysus! It's depressing when people don't even recognize the Third Reich references anymore....

          Oh.... I thought that was a quote from Donald Trump.

        • I thought they were both rather reminiscent of Hitler.

          "They [Japan and China] belong to ancient civilizations, and I admit freely that their past history is superior to our own. They have the right to be proud of their past"

      • Well, if you look around, almost everything that you see and use in our modern times has been invented by western civilizations.

        There is a good book about the topic, "Why the West Rules (for now)", which goes into the details on why the West dominates the world today in contrast to the East (Asian civilizations). It really goes through all of human history to try and explain the situation we find ourselves in now. It's a good read. The conclusion is that westerners are not smarter or better than others, but

        • by Halo1 ( 136547 )

          Nevertheless, the West did come out on top, and therefore made the greatest contributions to human progress by far.

          And at the same time, we have also greatly damaged human progress in various ways (I won't speak in absolutes, because I'll frankly admit I have no idea who would "win" that particular contest for any given time period). E.g.

          • by making pretty much everything subservient to trade/GDP, we're wasting large amounts of human happiness (and thereby, ironically, also of GDP — burnouts, suicides, mental breakdowns, ...)
          • by primarily valuing hard science education and regurgitating large volumes of knowledge, we
      • And really, this is all irrelevant anyway, because there is no greatest civilization...

        That wooshing sound you heard before posting was the tongue-in-cheek Third Reich reference flying swiftly over your head. Since you've been modded up to +4, I'm guessing it flew over a lot of heads...

    • The Lord of the flies called. They have a quarter. Two guesses what you're supposed to use it for. The second one is to use it as a fucking repository.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ED-Z Ward ( 2987517 )
      I agree. We should ban the vulnerable youth mind from bad influence, like the church, and any religious teaching too... /s
    • "The European youth needs discipline and direction. They are the heirs of the greatest civilization that has ever existed and will ever exist"

      HAHAHAHAhaHAHAHAhhhaHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      right....

    • civilizations
  • Good! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by feufeu ( 1109929 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2015 @03:19AM (#51127859)

    ...and nothing of value is lost.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Because that worked out great.

  • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2015 @03:29AM (#51127881) Homepage
    The actual rules are that if the member states don't set an age limit, the default is 16. Individual member states thus can have lower age limits.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16, 2015 @03:51AM (#51127939)

      Indeed and the bill also wants to harmonize the data privacy laws across the EU so we don't have another facebook incident over a court ruling.

      For those who don't know (warning: soap drama): Facebook was sued in Belgium about using tracking cookies even for non-members of facebook. Facebook argued then that it complied with the privacy laws in Ireland and therefor it should also apply in Belgium. They lost and now they say those cookies are for security and will block public facebook pages for everyone in Belgium. The belgian privacy commission contacted their counterparts and now France, Germany, Netherlands and Spain joined and are asking to apply the ruling.

      *dramatic soap drama voice*
      What will happen? Will facebook also block public pages in those nations? Will those nations back down for their facebook addicted non-member citizens?

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Will facebook also block public pages in those nations?

        We can only hope.

        Seriously, even if you don't despise Facebook, let's at least try to make privacy the default.

        • Seriously, even if you don't despise Facebook, let's at least try to make privacy the default.

          But isn't privacy antithetical to the very concept of Facebook? I mean, seriously -- if you want to keep something "private," you don't post it online in the first place. If you do, why would you use a website whose founder has openly said that he disagrees with the idea that you should have "multiple online identities," which would be the true online equivalent to having different "private lives" that you share in different ways with different people.

          And even if you're willing to go along with that stu

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      I actually looked, but not fully read TFA. It states in the first couple of paragraphs, that only parental permission is required for underage kids to use Internet services.

      So this is like a:

      "Mom, can I use Facebook . . . Dad said it is OK!"

      This is a tempest in a teapot.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        My concern is how they will require the permission to be granted. Will the parent need a Facebook account themselves, or will a simple "I have permission" tick box be enough?

        I'm also concerned that parents shouldn't be able to give permission for children. Google was suggesting making a G+ profile for newborns and storing all their baby pics onwards on there. A lot of people oppose things like the Right to be Forgotten, wanting to archive every mistake anyone ever makes... Like circumcision, I don't think p

        • Like Religion, I don't think parents should be able to inflict that on their kids. Wait until they are 16 or 18 and are responsible enough to decide, at least.

          FTFY

  • by Anonymous Coward

    At first I thought that would be good, but then I remembered I started visiting internet forums about gaming, programming and more when I was 11.
    I wonder if forums count as social media too, or modern things like Reddit, where should our kids learn about these things before they are 16 now?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This is about companies handling kids' data. I'm sure the forums you frequented did not ask about your real name or sexual preferences. I guess the startING point of this discussion was when minors started posting pictures of themselves everywhere. They do not understand the implications.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16, 2015 @04:22AM (#51128001)

      The easy and obvious solution would be to not require fucking logins for everything. You should know. You posted anonymously.

      • The problem with a lack of logins is that it doesn't allow for tracking of social media. And by tracking I don't mean corporations (although as a side effect that happens) but tracking from a personal point of view.

        By logging into Slashdot I will be able to find this comment again and see who replied to it. You on the other hand wouldn't even be able to find this comment today if it weren't for the fact that it is currently +5 insightful. And not authenticating like some of those "enter username to post" co

    • It's not about social media. It's about the age of consent for data processing. Basically before you reach that age your parents have to consent for you in privacy related things. Which is technically not a bad thing IMHO.

  • by Jack Griffin ( 3459907 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2015 @03:40AM (#51127905)
    The ban is about third party companies (adults) handling data of people under 16. So if a Social Media product was P2P, or e2e encryption and was unable to snoop on it's users, then it wouldn't be an issue. I'd like to see this extended to all people under 120.
  • So basically: still lower than driving age without parental supervision, in most of Europe.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16, 2015 @03:56AM (#51127949)

    I'm not sure if banning social media for children that age is a good thing, but having seen and heard what it has become, it does seem to magnify some dysfunctional social interactions happening at those ages.

    Even before the internet, teens went through a period of trying to measure and compare their social standing, but social media seems to have created a caricature of that. Now, it is "directly measurable" to them: my selfie got 50 likes in one day, and yours only got 28. People said, "OMG you're pretty!" to me, but only "you're pretty!" to you. Teens are getting obsessed with constant, real time monitoring of these things - by some attempts to measure it, checking likes to their selfies as much as every 2 or 3 minutes throughout their entire day. In class, waiting for the bus, it doesn't matter.

    It's hard to see that as a healthy thing. Of course, it's tempting to view anything new and different as bad. It happens with every generation: rock and roll, computer gaming, etc. Still, I can't help but think this is different. This is:

    * Permanent. What you put out there, good, bad, or ugly, stays out there. If it's embarrassing or hurtful, it will be used against you potentially for the rest of your life, rather than being forgotten as stupid shit used to be. Your name will be forever attached.

    * Commercial. It's used to build profiles of kids to advertise to them, which will follow them through life.

    * Direct. It seems to magnify whatever "popular vs unpopular" axis that has always existed at those ages. It makes the popular feel more so, and the unpopular feel even more alienated. And kids can be very cruel to the unpopular.

    I'm not sure social media is anything good for kids, but somehow, banning it doesn't seem likely to fix those problems, either. Maybe the better approach is to help them deal with it in better ways. Like it or not, it's here to stay, and it is changing our culture. Best to try to to improve how that change happens.

  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2015 @04:38AM (#51128029)
    I'm sure that the 15 year old's with a smart phone would all obey the rule and not use a false date of birth
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Heck, my kids have each had a gmail account since age 0. Urrr, age 18.

      It was kind of fun registering email accounts for my kids on the day of birth, then sending out an email from them announcing their own births. They haven't sent email in the decade since, and still technically don't qualify for a gmail account.

    • by Sique ( 173459 )
      It would work exactly as planned.

      It's not that children are banned from using social media, though the article make it look that way. On the contrary, companies are forbidden to ask the children for personal information, compile a database of it and sell it to affiliates and third parties, except with parental permission.

      So yes, 15 year olds will still access sites which require those by providing bogus information. But then, the value of the information is nil, and companies themselves will set up meas

      • So yes, 15 year olds will still access sites which require those by providing bogus information. But then, the value of the information is nil, and companies themselves will set up measures to weed out bogus information because that would diminish the value of their databases to potential customers.

        Except they'd likely provide all true information except for their date of birth. So while the "People aged X-Y like this" metrics would be useless, the "this person likes Z so show ads for related products" wou

      • Not so much. You can guess an age range from plenty of data other than the birthdate (How many thirty-somethings will like or follow Diplo, Justin Bieber, or Meghan Trainor on Facebook, and pepper their posts with words like "ratchet", "yolo", and "bae"?). A margin of a few years either way is close enough for targeted advertising. And it's not hard to guess what birthdays will be the bogus ones chosen. Birthday listed as January 23rd, 1945, June 9th, 1969, or April 20th of any year, and the user's prof

    • by pla ( 258480 )
      I'm sure that the 15 year old's with a smart phone would all obey the rule and not use a false date of birth

      15? Try "anyone old enough to type".

      It takes exactly one age-related rejection from trying to sign up for a site, before kids learn to just lie about their age online.

      Good idea, EU, but unless you also require sites to allow people under 16 to sign up without being tracked (which opens another whole can of worms, not least of which, I can see an awfully lot of adults suddenly lying about their
    • I'm sure that the 15 year old's with a smart phone would all obey the rule and not use a false date of birth

      Yes, I have previously conjectured that a lot of people are going to be permanently stuck with an online presence that represents them as 10+ years older than they are because they lied on a social media site at some point. It's going to be hell on dating sites. The only people that will show up as being in their mid 20s are actually underaged minors that got a social media account at 6,

    • Does the proposed rule actually absolve the company of liability if the child lies?

      How does the EU handle things like statutory rape and minors entering into contracts? In the US, the minor lying about their age isn't necessarily a valid defense.

      If the child claims to be 16 and posts selfies of their clearly-not-16yo self or discusses age-revealing things, can the site claim that it's not liable? The fact that the posted information is probably being actively mined makes it even less likely that the site ca

    • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
      Even better is you may need a Google account just to activate your smart phone, where the primary user is under 16.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16, 2015 @04:44AM (#51128043)

    For all of you falling for the "think of the children" narrative, you are misled by corporate propagande. What the lobbyists want has nothing to do with children, no one really cares about that. The rule change is largely just a declaration of intent, and a measure to make sure that all member states at least have a minimum age defined. If you read closely, the member states are still free to choose their own standard, the age 16 requirement only applies if nothing else is defined

    The real reason why the propaganda machine is running on full steam is the other provisions in the law, which would mean that it would become illegal to not disclose data breaches, hiding those would become a felony, and that companies could be charged with up to 4% of their total revenue for any data breaches. That is what the lobbyists are fighting against this draft law.

    • For all of you falling for the "think of the children" narrative, you are misled by corporate propagande. What the lobbyists want has nothing to do with children, no one really cares about that. The rule change is largely just a declaration of intent, and a measure to make sure that all member states at least have a minimum age defined. If you read closely, the member states are still free to choose their own standard, the age 16 requirement only applies if nothing else is defined

      The real reason why the propaganda machine is running on full steam is the other provisions in the law, which would mean that it would become illegal to not disclose data breaches, hiding those would become a felony, and that companies could be charged with up to 4% of their total revenue for any data breaches. That is what the lobbyists are fighting against this draft law.

      The data breaches part is especially interesting to me, and I highly hope this gets passed. 4% revenue is also a decent punishment, as that can add up to a substantial amount, and hopefully enough to actually be a deterrent to large and wealthy corporations for whom it's otherwise cheaper to just break the law and pay a measly €300 fine.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Kids shouldn't be banned. "Real name" policies should be banned. Parents know who their kids are, no one else needs to, or should. And the idiocy they get up to online should not follow them forever, if they don't want it to.

    Corporate control of social media should be banned. Probably any centralized social media should be banned! But of course, now I am dreaming...

    • by mark-t ( 151149 )

      While I agree with you in principle, the problem with anonymity on the Internet is that there is no shortage of people who abuse any opportunity for anonymity to act like assholes, sometime causing measurable harm to others who would be unable to take legitimate recourse because there is nobody to take such recourse against.

      If people could always behave responsibly online, I doubt using aliases instead of real names would ever would have become a contentious issue, but like so many other things, a few pr

  • There's nothing as pathetic as a Freddie Mercury reach around.

  • Ban them from online gaming as well? My mother has apparently been around the world a fair few times to my surprise.
  • Can we ban them from the streets as well? I'm tired of the little shits in this neighborhood.

  • Kids need to learn how to interact with other human beings in real life before they start doing it online. "Kids these days" are completely dysfunctional in person and have no idea how to handle personal social interaction.

    • Hasn't seemed to work for previous generations lol

  • How about banning people who ACT younger than 16 from social media?

  • The stupidity in this sort of proposal is mind-bending on so many levels.

  • When I see those phone-junkies getting younger and younger, and kids having problems letting their phone go even for a short period of time, a blanket ban of Facebook & Co for minors in general would be an excellent idea.

  • I've always thought that companies should not handle anyone's data, but centralization is quite efficient, so alternatives never gain traction. This sort of push could help people learn about the benefits of privacy, decentralization and data protection at a very young age.

  • This is totally unenforceable without some sort of invasive internet user identification system to prove the age of somebody signing up for social media. Without it, all the little angels have to do is lie about their age & boom social media account created.

Multics is security spelled sideways.

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