UNICEF launches Industry Toolkit on Children's Online Privacy and Freedom of Expression

UNICEF has launched an Industry Toolkit on Children's Online Privacy and Freedom of Expression. It contains five, rights-based "General Principles" and a practical checklist for companies to review their policies and practices.

This Toolkit builds on UNICEF's discussion paper series Children's Rights and Business in a Digital World, and gives practical guidance to companies on how to analyse and improve their impacts on children's privacy and expression rights online. The Toolkit was developed over the course of a year, and multiple consultations were held with a range of companies, civil society organisations, academics, policy-makers and UNICEF colleagues.

The Toolkit contains:

  • Five General Principles that set out the shared responsibility to protect, respect and realize children's privacy and expression rights in a digital world, and
  • A Checklist for Companies to assess their policies and practices with regard to obtaining, using and retaining children's personal data; ensuring children's access to information; and educating and informing children online.

The General Principles provide a child rights-based approach to privacy and freedom of expression for national authorities, industry, parents and educators, while the Checklist helps companies bring this approach into practical action.

The Toolkit's publication is timely. With the imminent rollout of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) - a set of laws and standards governing data protection and privacy for all companies and individuals within the EU, and with other digital policy developments in Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere - UNICEF encourages companies, advocates, and policymakers to take steps that better protect children's online privacy while still ensuring children have access to a free, open internet. In developing this Toolkit, UNICEF are therefore presenting a call to action to businesses and policymakers to protect, respect and realise children's privacy and expression rights online. Practical steps include:

  • Provide for children's continued access to websites, platforms, products, services and applications that offer beneficial content.
  • Support and value children's contributions to society as responsible and engaged digital citizens.
  • Give children greater control over how their profiles, images and personal information can be searched, accessed and deleted.
  • Make terms and conditions simple, concise, visible, clear, accessible and appropriate to children's evolving capacities.
  • Ensure privacy settings are visible, child-friendly and provide greater protection for children's accounts by default.
  • Limit the ways in which children's personal data can be sold, shared, or otherwise monetised, and restrict the use of children's personal data for the sole purpose of marketing or advertising.

View the Industry Toolkit or see the UNICEF website for general information on the work of the organisation.


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