Charities stress importance of privacy rights for children

By 17 March 2022News

Children should have a right to online privacy equal to that of adults, according to a legal charity.

The Coram Children’s Legal Centre campaigns to protect the legal and social rights of minors and young people. Earlier in the year the organisation joined forces with disability charity Inclusion London and campaign group Liberty to intervene in a legal case against technology giant Google, which had been accused of breaching data protection laws. The case had been brought on behalf of a large group of iPhone users by an individual litigant. He argued that he should be allowed to bring a ‘representative’ compensation claim for all the participants, even if the alleged breaches had not caused every individual personal distress.

Coram, Inclusion London and Liberty endorsed this claim. They cited children and disabled people as examples of groups who might not be personally distressed by breaches of their privacy in future but whose rights should still, in their view, be protected.

The case reached the Supreme Court earlier this month, where Justices concluded that feeling distress or suffering a specified loss were prerequisites for compensation in English law. They also declared that representative actions in compensation cases were not valid, because these would make it impossible to properly assess the loss caused to each individual participant in a case.

In an official statement, the Managing Director of Legal Practice and Children’s Rights at Coram said the charity was disappointed by the ruling. Rosalyn Akar Grams singled out:

“… the lack of consideration of the position of children set out in the arguments we put forward. Children’s lives are increasingly impacted by the digital world and it is vital that their rights to data protection and privacy are protected. We will continue to advocate for their rights to redress and compensation when their data rights are breached regardless of whether they experience distress as a result of that breach.