“CHILDREN´S E-RIGHTS IN THE EUROPEAN INFORMATION SOCIETY” is a part of LLM in European Union Law, which is a distance learning programme offered by one of the leading law universities in Spain, the UNED-Spain.
This LLM pathway provides in-depth and up-to-date knowledge of the most important theoretical and practical aspects of EU law focusing on the “Digital Agenda for Europe” within the European Commission Programme titled “Europe 2020” (COM (2010) 245 final) and on the “European Strategy for Better Internet for Children” (COM (2012) 196 final.
“Digital Agenda for Europe” is one of the seven initiatives foreseen in the “Europe 2020 Strategy” to achieve a single digital market. Therefore, it sets out to define the key enabling role that the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) will have to play if Europe wants to succeed in its ambition for 2020. The Commission has identified the seven most significant obstacles to reach this goal (fragmented digital markets, lack of interoperability, rising cybercrime and risk of low trust in networks, lack of investment in networks, insufficient research and innovation efforts, lack of digital literacy and skills and missed opportunities in addressing societal challenges). They have proposed, within the action areas of Digital Agenda concerning “Building digital confidence” not only the review of the EU Data Protection regulatory framework but also the issue of a Code of EU Online Rights by 2012. This Code will summarize existing digital user rights in the EU in a clear and accessible way (Key Action 4).
Although the right to privacy and the protection of personal data are fundamental rights in the EU, and will be included and taken into account in the above mentioned Key Action 4, other specific actions were prepared in parallel, such as the “EU Agenda for Rights of the Child” [(COM (2011) 60 final] because children have specific needs and vulnerabilities and this difference has to be recognized and a proper strategy should be developed.
Based on this Agenda, the latest Communication from the Commission to other institutions, “European Strategy for a Better Internet for Children”, deals with the particular risks of children in ICT and proposes a new Eco-system to support their needs in order to create a safer, enriching environment for all EU children online. This system will ensure the enforcement of existing EU rules and stimulate further self-regulatory measures. Despite the fact that children are “digital natives”, they are not aware of the potential consequences of their everyday actions, such as putting photos on the network or of the actions of others, for instance, distributing child sex abuse images. Both legislative approaches will be studied on this course.
Both, rapid technological developments and globalization have brought new challenges for data protection and differences in the way that each EU country implements the law, mainly, the centrepiece of existing EU legislation on personal data protection, Directive 95/46/EC. Therefore, currently, there is different levels of protection for personal data, depending on where an individual lives or buys goods and services. The result is a fragmented legal environment with legal uncertainty and unequal protection for individuals and, in particular, for the minors.
This is the reason why the Commission proposed a comprehensive reform of the data protection rules, which has become of the new “General Data protection Regulation” or REGULATION (EU) 2016/679 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL, of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC, that It shall apply from 25 May 2018 (Article 99); some of its rules are special rules for minors and because of this new legislative instrument shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States, the minors’ digital ecosystem will be more harmonized. The rules of this contest will be analyzed in this programme.
The topic aims to provide students and professionals with in-depth and up-to-date knowledge of child protection in the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as the most important theoretical and practical aspect of EU law, by focusing on Safer Networking.
The programme will deal in general with the freedom to provide services in the information society; covering also the Directives of data protection and telecommunications and like the form of achieving a single digital market in EU; it concludes with the judicial review of EU law, including the liability of EU industrial self-regulations and the enforcement of both hard and soft-law with regard to the protection of children's rights in national courts and the applicable procedures.
The current digital framework is changening and its rules do not prevent its fragmentation, therefore, the Commission has proposed new legal framework consists of two legislative proposals: a proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation), and a proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and the free movement of such data. Both of future legislative rules will be analized in this Programme in relation to children.
The syllabus covers: an introduction to child protection in safer networking including not only existing EU rules but also the EU legislation made by the industry and the EU: self-regulations, such as The Safer Social Networking Principles for EU or the Direct Marketing:The European Code of Practice for the use of Personal Data in Direct Marketing (FEDMA Code’s Annex).