The AEPD and the CNPD express concern about the increase in digital violence and its consequences for physical and mental health
- The AEPD and the National Data Protection Commission of Portugal (CNPD) have held a new ‘Iberian meeting of data protection authorities’ to exchange information and experiences on current data protection issues
- The Director of the AEPD and the President of the CNPD have agreed on the need to adopt and strengthen effective measures to prevent or limit the behaviour and harm caused by digital violence.
- They also call for the urgent adoption of measures that make it possible to detect the problematic use of digital devices and prevent access to adult content through age verification systems in line with data protection regulations
The director of the AEPD, Mar España, and the president of the CNPD, Paula Meira Lourenço, (in the center of the image, right and left, respectively) along with the rest of the representatives of the Spanish and Portuguese data protection authorities.
(November, 8th 2023). The AEPD and the Portuguese National Data Protection Commission (CNPD) have held a new ‘Iberian Meeting of Data Protection Authorities’, in which they have exchanged information on their priorities and strategic actions, the digital tools available on their websites, the protection of people in the digital world, the impact of AI and proposals on procedural rules at European level for the implementation of this regulation.
Both authorities have particularly highlighted their concern about the increase experienced in digital violence and its consequences that seriously affect physical and mental health, in some cases irreversibly.
Those responsible for both authorities have agreed on the need to adopt and enhance effective measures to prevent or limit the behaviour and harm caused by digital violence, which often harms vulnerable individuals such as victims of gender-based violence or minors.
In particular, they have referred to preventive measures to protect against digital violence, aimed at raising awareness about the harms caused by these behaviors and the responsibilities they give rise to. They also referred to the importance of establishing mechanisms and tools to act urgently to stop the illegal dissemination of personal data on the Internet, in line with the Priority Channel of the AEPD, recently awarded by the Global Privacy Assembly in recognition of its value as an effective instrument in situations where the physical and psychological integrity of the people concerned is put at serious risk by the dissemination of content published online and that constitute digital violence, especially against women, children and vulnerable people.
The summit also discussed the protection of children and adolescents in the digital environment, focusing on the addictive or problematic use of digital devices and access to adult content, in particular pornography, aspects that affect the different areas of their health, their neurodevelopment, learning and family and school coexistence.
In this sense, they stressed that these behaviors constitute a serious public health problem that requires the urgent adoption of measures that allow both to detect these behaviors -in the case of problematic use-, as well as to provide resources to families to face them, such as the Family Digital Plan promoted by the Spanish Association of Pediatrics, and to avoid access to online content for adults through age verification systems in accordance with data protection regulations.
En este sentido, han destacado que estas conductas constituyen un grave problema de salud pública que requiere de la adopción urgente de medidas que permitan tanto detectar estos comportamientos -en el caso del uso problemático-, como facilitar recursos a las familias para afrontarlas, como el Plan Digital Familiar impulsado por la Asociación Española de Pediatría, y evitar el acceso a contenidos online para adultos mediante sistemas de verificación de la edad acordes a la normativa de protección de datos.
The authorities have devoted much of the meeting to addressing the growing need to protect people in a digital world. In this sense, the AEPD has shared with its counterpart the tools and actions developed by the Agency in this field, highlighting the Priority Channel, which allows requesting the urgent removal of sexual or violent content published on the Internet whose illegal dissemination is seriously endangering the rights and freedoms or the physical or mental health of the people concerned.
The protection of people on the internet and especially children is one of the Agency’s priority lines. In this sense, the AEPD has highlighted the awareness and education initiatives carried out in recent years to raise awareness among children and their families about the responsible use of the Internet, such as the campaign More than a mobile phone and specific materials such as The Guide that does not come with your phone. As examples of actions related to education, the Agency has highlighted its specialised childcare service and its specific website tudecideseninternet.es, which adds the introduction of the term digital violence in the Organic Law on comprehensive protection of children and adolescents against violence, including on the proposal of the AEPD.
On the other hand, the AEPD has transferred to the CNPD the current lines of action, such as its support for the Family Digital Plan of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEP) or the promotion of working groups with different actors to protect and act in a coordinated way against websites of content for adults that do not correctly verify the age of the people who access these pages.
During the meeting, the protection of minors in the digital environment, as well as the responsibility of children and their parents and legal guardians for acts committed on the Internet and the proposal for a State Pact to protect minors on the Internet and social networks, an initiative promoted by the European Association for the Digital Transition that has the institutional support of the AEPD, was also specifically addressed.
Authorities have also shared internal organisational, operational data, priorities in the face of current data protection challenges, such as the impact of artificial intelligence.