“CHILDREN´S E-RIGHTS IN THE EUROPEAN INFORMATION SOCIETY” is a part of LLM in European Union Law, which is a distance learning program 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 “European Strategy for Better Internet for Children” (BIK-COM (2012) 196 final), now in its updated version “A Digital Decade for children and youth: the new European strategy for a better internet for kids (BIK+ or COM (2022) 212 final)”, whose announcement was made by the Commission when adopting its first-ever comprehensive “EU strategy on the rights of the child, 24 March 2021 (Strategy 2021- COM/2021/142 final).
Although the right to privacy and the protection of personal data are fundamental rights in the EU, and were included and taken into account in the Key Action 4 of “Digital Agenda for Europe”, (one of the seven initiatives foreseen in the “Europe 2020 Strategy” (COM (2010) 245 final), 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 “Digital Agenda 2010”, BIK dealt with the risks of children in ICT and proposed a new Eco-system to support their needs to create a safer, enriching environment for all EU children online. Even though children are “digital natives”, they are not aware of the potential consequences of their everyday actions, such as posting photos on social networks. The purpose of BIK these eight years has been to ensure the development and enforcement of existing EU rules for minors, encouraging further self-regulatory measures to avoid legal loopholes in the face of the rapid development and changes of the ICT.
The convergence process of the digital sectors of the Digital Space (audiovisual, information society and telecommunications) and the advance digital technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, have produced a proliferation of rules and large fragmentation of the digital acquis for minors. To clarify this regulatory panorama, two compilation for formal text concerning children in digital world have been made by different Directorates General of the European Commission: The “EU Acquis and policy documents on the right of the child 2019”, more general and made by Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers, and the “European Strategy for a Compendium of legislation 2022” made by Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology.
As it can't be otherwise, the “chapeau” of this whole set of rules is the “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. This European regulation is crucial because it regulates both, the minimum age of minors to access the digital space and their protection, even to the point of ensuring their right to be forgotten. Aspects, among others, such as the prevention of illegal content, that are developed in other legal and self-regulatory rules and will be studied.
In view of the above, this programme we will address the question "Are children protected in the digital world?" by two actions: first, introducing ourselves in the web of legal and non-legal regulations that affect digital minors in order to locate them and give a vision of the evolution in which they are constantly; and secondly, bringing the student closer to the main issues in which the digital minor is involved.
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 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: european and domestic 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 2010) or El Código de autorregulación sobre contenidos televisivos e infancia (CACTI 2002).