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Protecting the child’s right to ‘online oblivion’

Children should have the right to erase past online activity upon reaching adulthood, a Council of Europe expert will tell a Reykjavik internet conference later today.

Lee Hibbard will reaffirm the organisation’s three year commitment to ensuring a child’s right to “internet oblivion” at the Iceland national meeting of the Internet Governance Forum.

The conference, organised by the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture and the Ministry of the Interior, takes place on Safer Internet Day. Hibbard will use the opportunity to insist that children have the right to start adult life with a “clean slate” and will highlight the Council of Europe’s role in bringing human rights to the online community.

He will stress the need for indivuiduals to have greater personal control over data and their online identities, underlining the organisation’s encouragement of higher privacy standards within social networks.

Hibbard will also highlight the anti-online grooming measures contained in the Council of Europe’s 2007 Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse.

These measures are vital, Hibbard will say, to the creation of a “pleasant, confidence-building and safe” environment for youngsters.

The Council of Europe revealed last month that it will start ‘ethics’ consultations with industry leaders within weeks which could prepare the ground for recommendations on a code of practice for online information providers.

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