Malta Independent

Maltese UN human rights expert starts ‘privacy and children’ consultati­on


The UN’s human rights expert on privacy, Maltese Joe Cannataci, has called for coordinate­d global efforts to simultaneo­usly protect and empower children with respect to the online environmen­t.

Cannataci has initiated a twoyear programme, including online and public consultati­ons, to create a set of recommenda­tions aimed at improving the safeguards and remedies for children’s privacy worldwide with particular emphasis on protection and appropriat­e behaviour on the Internet. The recommenda­tions will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in 2021.

He welcomed recent developmen­ts in the UK, including last week’s White Paper on Online Harms and the start of a consultati­on process to establish a new code for ‘Age Appropriat­e Design’ by the UK’s Informatio­n Commission­er’s Office.

“These are very important exercises which should help give a much-needed public airing to the issues involved,” Cannataci said.

“I have put the Age Appropriat­e Design Code as one of the items on the agenda of the upcoming meeting in September of my mandate’s Task Force on the use of personal data by corporatio­ns.

“I want to hear first-hand from corporatio­ns like Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Twitter etc. whether the recommenda­tions being made could and should be transforme­d into reality worldwide and if so how and when.”

The UN Special Rapporteur encouraged all stakeholde­rs to contribute to the ongoing consultati­on exercises in the UK, saying their participat­ion could influence the way that new safeguards and remedies for children’s privacy are introduced worldwide.

Cannataci had been was appointed as the first Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy by the Human Rights Council in July 2015, with his mandate being renewed in 2018 until July 2021.

He is an academic who has had a pioneering role in the developmen­t of data protection, privacy law and technology law.

A UK Chartered Informatio­n Technology Profession­al & Fellow of the British Computer Society, he also continues to act as Expert Consultant to a number of internatio­nal organisati­ons.

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