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ODPA celebrates Data Protection Day with focus on children’s rights

Published: 24 January 2024

Sunday 28 January is the 17th annual Data Protection Day which signifies an international effort to empower individuals and businesses to respect privacy, safeguard data and enable trust. The Bailiwick’s data protection law regulator, the Office of the Data Protection Authority (ODPA) is marking this day by calling upon children, parents, schools and all other bodies who care about children’s data to contribute to an open public consultation at www.odpa.gg/childrens-framework.

The public consultation forms an important part of developing a comprehensive 'Children's Framework' to support the responsible use of children’s information. The framework reflects the legal requirements in the Bailiwick and will align with the relevant principles in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The ODPA seeks to promote and protect children's rights through its dedicated outreach programme ‘Project Bijou Seeds’. The priority of protecting children forms part of the ODPA’s strategic plan and statutory obligation to raise children’s awareness of their rights, and to understand their responsibilities to others. Project Bijou Seeds involves in-school sessions for children in Year 4, and for young people in Years 8 and 10. The ODPA published a children’s book, Warro , in September 2023 with the aim of educating and empowering children as they navigate the world of data.

The Bailiwick’s Data Protection Commissioner, Brent Homan commented:

“As Nelson Mandela said ‘There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children.’ The Bailiwick treasures its children and can be a model worldwide by elevating safeguards around our children and young people. The next generations are owed all the legal protections that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child promises them. It is essential that young people are included in discussions about how data about them is handled – which is why we’re asking them to contribute to our public consultation.”

Before moving to Guernsey to take up his new role as the Bailiwick’s Data Protection Commissioner, Brent was Deputy Commissioner at Canada’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner. A global leader in regulatory collaboration, in 2012 Brent conceptualised the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN) Privacy Sweep – an annual collaborative initiative where privacy authorities from around the world join forces to shine a light on a key privacy issue or trend.

The ODPA is taking part in this year’s Privacy Sweep on 1 February and will be examining the gambling sector through the lens of the privacy theme of ‘Deceptive Design Patterns’ also known as ‘Dark Patterns’. This occurs when websites/apps deliberately try to deceive you into making unintended, unwilling or potentially harmful decisions. A common example of this is when it’s super easy for you to sign up to something, but super difficult to cancel it (this is sometimes called the ‘roach motel’, named after a US brand of cockroach traps).

The ODPA will share its findings with GPEN for collation and analyses. The OPDA and other regulatory partners will publicise the results of the sweep later this year to support the ODPA’s regulatory functions of outreach and enforcement. The objectives of the Sweep include: broadening public and corporate awareness of privacy rights and responsibilities, encouraging legal compliance, and creating greater consumer trust by demonstrating a coordinated domestic and international regulatory presence.

About Data Protection Day
Data Protection Day commemorates the signing of 'Convention 108' (or to give it its other title: The Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automated Processing of Personal Data) by the Council of Europe in 1981 which was the first, legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection. In 2006 the Council launched the day to help raise awareness of these issues and people’s rights over information about them.

About the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN)
GPEN connects over 70 Privacy Enforcement Authorities (PEAs) from around the world to promote and support cooperation in cross-border enforcement of laws protecting privacy. It aims to enable its members to:
  • exchange information about relevant issues, trends, and experiences;
  • build capacity, and share enforcement know-how, expertise, and good practice;
  • support and welcome new PEAs into GPEN;
  • engage with organisations that have a role in privacy protection and enforcement;
  • use processes and mechanisms that help facilitate bilateral or multilateral cooperation;
  • cooperate with other regulators across the digital economy; and
  • coordinate with other networks of PEAs and digital regulators.