Placing GDPR in the spotlight in Greece

  • Awareness
  • 08/11/2017
  • Greek Safer Internet Centre

The protection of children according to the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – which will come into force in May 2018 - was the main topic during the recent second Advisory Board meeting of the Greek Safer Internet Centre (SIC). The meeting took place in Athens with the participation of representatives from the state, the internet industry, the academic community and child protection organisations.

Under the GDPR, the general rule provides for a parental consent requirement for all youth under 16 years of age in situations where information society services are offered directly to them. However, Member States may choose to deviate and decide to lower the age threshold to 15, 14, or 13 years. In preparation for the implementation of the GDPR, national (draft) implementation acts, national consultations or guidance by Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) have been published across the EU. Although in many countries no final decisions have been taken, preliminary research into a selection of national approaches, based on official and public documents, shows that a fragmented landscape is gradually emerging. In Greece, the issue will soon be clearer: the country is currently in a legislative stage and the suggestions of all the authorities involved are being taken into account.

Meeting of the Greek Safer Internet Centre Advisory Board

Meeting of the Greek Safer Internet Centre Advisory Board

The main topic discussed during the Advisory Board meeting of the Greek SIC was therefore whether it is feasible, desirable and appropriate to remove the right to participate freely in the new technologies from children, therefore risking them missing the opportunities offered by the digital world.

The representative of the Hellenic Data Protection Authority, Doctor of Laws Fereniki Panagopoulou, pointed out the need for comprehensive and enhanced privacy protection, independent of the age of the internet user, as many adults in Greece are "illiterate" online and are entering the internet without any knowledge of the possible risks. She also underlined the responsibility of providers to seek and implement effective ways to control the age of children using social networks in order to ensure the permissible age limit. Particular emphasis was placed on the need to change the terms of use form in each application since, at this stage, the terms are characterised as endless and obscure and, as a result, the user does not understand what he or she is agreeing to.

The presence of the Facebook spokesperson, Laura Bononcini, was very constructive, allowing participants the opportunity to get answers to critical questions and raise their concerns regarding the safe use of this social network by children. Laura stressed that Facebook has made an effort to protect its users and, in particular, children over recent years. She also underlined the fact that the details of children who have profiles on Facebook are no longer searchable by search engines, and that there are many changes which can be made to children's profile settings to help to protect them.

The Coordinator of the Greek Safer Internet Centre (SIC), Vivi Fragopoulou, informed the participants of the priorities of SIC project and presented the new rich material available for children of all educational levels via the project website www.saferinternet4kids.gr.

Find out more about the work of the Greek Safer Internet Centre, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services.


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