Digital rights under the new UK Data Protection Bill

Date: 21st August 2017
Category: Protection of privacy

The minimum age at which children can use online services without needing parental consent will be set at 13. The announcement came as part of a proposal for a new Data Protection Bill, which mirrors the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation, due to enter into force next year.

The default for the regulation is to require parental consent for children under the age of 16 to use online services, but EU member states can set their own minimum age between 13 and 16.

Ireland recently announced that it too would be setting its so-called 'age of digital consent' at 13.

The UK's proposals have, however, opened the government to criticism about its understanding of the concept of "privacy by default and design", a principle key to the EU regulation. The term refers to ensuring that processes and systems involving people's personal data are designed in a way that protects privacy, whereas the UK's proposal mistakenly claims to realise the principle by requiring that citizens have a right to know when their personal data has been released contrary to data protection safeguards.