Hello and welcome to our project 'Children's rights to privacy in the era of Big Data'
One in three internet users in the world are children under the age of 18, and so we must recognise that the internet is no longer the preserve of adults alone. The recent passing of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU has stipulated that children require special protections in relation to their personal data collected by businesses, governments and information services online because they are less likely to be aware of the risks this presents to them the short or long term. Although the GDPR prompted research in the UK into how children and parents perceive privacy in relation to the GDPR, little research has been carried out in the New Zealand context.
The GDPR not only impacts European businesses, but all businesses globally which in the course of providing online products and information services to European customers collect personal information about their visitors and customers.
In the mean time, New Zealand has a new Privacy Act (2020) but this falls short in some areas, in particular, data protection and children's rights to protection from corporate surveillance. IN effect while New Zealand companies are now encouraged to follow the regulatory approach put forward by the GDPR if dealing with European citizens and children, our own laws do not clearly stipulate the same protections afforded by the new GDPR for New Zealand children.
The central premise of regulatory changes across many countries however, is that governments and educators need to raise public awareness of how online commercial business models collect and use their data, and that parents and teenagers will then be able to make informed decisions about sharing data with corporate actors. However, this does not mean that children's data will be protected. While we can see that many parents and children have a good awareness of internet risks such as sexual predators, cyberbullying, and exposure to violent or age inappropriate content, and take steps to manage these risks, it is less certain whether parents and children will view corporate surveillance as a risk that they should manage.
This research wanted to explore how New Zealanders, and in particular parents and children currently manage personal data privacy risks, and what barriers there may be to doing so.