Children

17 Jun 2020
Chinese police are using equipment from the US company Thermo-Fisher to collect blood samples from 35 million to 70 million men and boys to build a genetic map of the country's 700 million males to add to its existing database of 80 million genetic profiles. The database would allow the authorities
08 May 2020
At a press conference, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested that microchipping everyone, beginning with children returning to school and kindergarten as the coronavirus lockdown ends; the chip would sound an alarm whenever anyone gets too close much as a car does. Security experts
10 May 2020
A number of incidents in which Zoom events in education settings were disrupted led the New York City school district to ban the use of Zoom for remote learning. Among the Zoombombing incidents: saboteurs inserted racist and anti-Semitic messages into a virtual graduation ceremony at Oklahoma City
News & Analysis

We’re part of a coalition asking data protection authorities, policymakers, edtech providers, and educators to take the following steps to protect children around the world.

Video

We can’t believe we’re having to say this, but the hours after giving birth are private.

In November 2018, Italy's Data Protection Authority advised against a proposal from the country's Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, to replace "parent 1 and parent 2" on children's national ID cards with "mother and father". Salvini, who campaigned for election earlier in 2018 on a socially
In 2018, the UK Department of Education began collecting data for the schools census, a collection of children's data recorded in the national pupil database and including details such as age, address, and academic achievements. The DfE had collected data on 6 million English children when, in June
In September 2018, at least five local English councils had developed or implemented a predictive analytics system incorporating the data of at least 377,000 people with the intention of preventing child abuse. Advocates of these systems argue that they help councils struggling under budget cuts to
In November 2018, 112 civil liberties, immigrant rights groups, child welfare advocates, and privacy activists wrote a letter to the heads of the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security demanding an immediate halt to the HHS Office for Refugee Resettlement
In November 2018, worried American parents wishing to check out prospective babysitters and dissatisfied with criminal background checks began paying $24.99 for a scan from the online service Predictim, which claimed to use "advanced artificial intelligence" to offer an automated risk rating
In November 2018 reports emerged that immigrants heading north from Central America to the US border are more and more often ensuring they are accompanied by children because "family units" are known to be less likely to be deported, at least temporarily, and smugglers charge less than half as much
31 Jul 2019
The Lumi by Pampers nappies will track a child's urine (not bowel movements) and comes with an app that helps you "Track just about everything". The activity sensor that is placed on the nappy also tracks a baby's sleep. Concerns over security and privacy have been raised, given baby monitors can be
06 May 2019
Absher, an online platform and mobile phone app created by the Saudi Arabian government, can allow men to restrict women’s ability to travel, live in Saudi Arabia, or access government services. This app, which is available in the Google and Apple app stores, supports and enables the discriminatory
11 Feb 2019
A couple who tried, in February 2018, to keep their unborn child a secret from the internet, in part so the child could create its own internet identity when it was ready. They had some success in avoiding being pursued by baby-related ads, but found themselves unable to exercise the control they
In November 2018, a UK Gambling Commission audit found that the number of problem gamblers aged 11 to 16 had quadrupled to 55,000 over two years, 70,000 children were at risk, and 450,000, or one in seven, children aged 11 to 16 bet regularly, spending, on average, £16 a week on fruit machines
15 Nov 2018
In November 2018, a security researcher found that the location-tracking children's watch MiSafe's Kid Watcher Plus, originally released in 2015, neither encrypted nor secured the children's accounts, allowing him to track their movements, secretly listen in to their activities, and spoof calls to
17 Feb 2019
The National Board of Scholarships and School Aid (Junaeb) in Chile was also heavily criticised for its use of facial recognition programmes to deliver meals at thirty schools in three cities across the country. After the Supreme Court requested in 2017 that the system must not be applied without
The first conditional cash transfer program in a higher-income country was trialled in the United States by Mayor Bloomberg in New York City from April 2007 to August 2010. Known as Opportunity NYC-Family Rewards, the privately funded pilot program transferred cash rewards to families who were able
05 Feb 2019
In February 2019, Joke Schauvliege, an environment minister in Flanders, was forced to resign after she suggested that Belgian intelligence services had information showing that the schoolchildren's strikes to protest climate change were being directed by others. The largest march in Belgium to date
28 May 2018
In 2018, an investigation found that children as young as nine in Hong Kong were exposing their identities online via Tik Tok, the most-downloaded iPhone app for creating and sharing short videos. Both Tik Tok and its sibling app Musical.ly, which is popular in Europe, Australia, and the US and
12 Sep 2018
In September 2018, the attorney general of the US state of New Mexico filed suit against Lithuania-based Tiny Lab Productions claiming that the maker of the children's app Fun Kid Racing had violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (1998) by collecting location and other data about the
05 Jun 2018
In 2018, a South Carolina woman realised her FREDI video baby monitor had been hacked when the camera began panning across the room to the spot where she breastfed her son. A 2015 study conducted by Rapid7 found that baby monitors have a number of vulnerabilities that are both easily exploited and
02 Apr 2018
By 2018, gene studies involving more than 200,000 test takers had found correlations between 500 human genes and academic success. Based on these results, the behavioural geneticist Robert Plomin claimed that parents would be able to use consumer tests to enable "precision education", built around
17 Sep 2018
In 2018, at least five British local authorities began developing systems intended to use predictive analytics to identify families needing attention from child services on the basis that algorithmic profiling could help them target their scarce resources more efficiently. Data about at least 377
28 Dec 2017
In 2016, the US Federal Trade Coimmission issued a warning to app developers that had installed Silverpush, software that uses device microphones to listen for audio signals inaudible to the human ear that identify the television programmes they are watching. Nonetheless, similar technology
07 Aug 2017
A federal class-action lawsuit filed in California in July 2017 alleges that in violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and without parental permission, the Walt Disney Company secretly collects personal information about some of its youngest customers and shares it
04 Dec 2017
The French data protection regulator, the Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), has issued a formal notice to Genesis Industries Limited, the maker of the connected toys My Friend Cayla and I-QUE. Genesis has two months to bring the toys into compliance with data protection
24 Nov 2017
Recognising that many parents will be considering purchasing connected toys and other devices for their children, for Christmas 2017 the UK's Information Commissioner's Office issued a list of 12 guidelines for assessing products before purchasing. These include: research the product's security
14 Nov 2017
The UK consumer watchdog Which? has called on retailers to stop selling popular connected toys it says have proven security issues. These include Hasbro's Furby Connect, Vivid Imagination's I-Que robot, and Spiral Toys' Cloudpets and Toy-fi Teddy. In its report, Which? found that these toys do not
Privacy and child advocacy groups in the US, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, and the UK are filing complaints with regulators after a study by the Norwegian Consumer Council found critical security flaws and missing privacy protection in children's smartwatches. The watches
04 Oct 2017
In 2017, after protests from children's health and privacy advocates, Mattel cancelled its planned child-focused "Aristotle" smart hub. Aristotle was designed to adapt to and learn about the child as they grew while controlling devices from night lights to homework aids. However, Aristotle was only
29 May 2015
By 2015, the cost, invasiveness, and effort involved in conducting medical tests led to proposals for lightweight wearable sensors that could perform the same job. Several such efforts focus on making these sensors fashionably acceptable by making them out of skinlike substances with electronics
08 Nov 2016
In 2016, researchers at MIT developed a wristband device to automate tracking screen time based on an off-the-shelf colour sensor used to calibrate colour and brightness in TVs and other screens and a learning algorithm that could detect when a screen was nearby. The device was intended for use in a
27 Jun 2015
A 2015 study by The Learning Curve found that although 71% of parents believe technology has improved their child's education, 79% were worried about the privacy and security of their child's data, and 75% were worried that advertisers had access to that data. At issue is the privacy and security
01 May 2017
Facebook has come under fire after leaked documents revealed the social media site has been targeting potentially vulnerable children. The allegations suggest the company is gathering information on young people who “need a confidence boost” to facilitate predatory advertising practices