The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the great benefits – and risks – of modern data processing. While data is vital to stopping the spread of the virus, it cannot come at the cost of privacy rights and data protection.
In times of social distancing and confinement, many schools are going “online” in an effort to continue educational programmes for children. In these circumstances, more than ever, processing children’s data in educational systems must be based on a proper legal basis and be maximally transparent.
In a joint Statement, the Chair of the Committee of Convention 108 and the Data Protection Commissioner of the Council of Europe recall the high standards of protection of personal data set forth in the Convention 108, as well as the modernised “Convention 108+". They insist on the need for personal data to be protected even in the current situation and in the various areas where the measures taken to fight the pandemic and maintain business and education activities can put them at risk.
More broadly, the Council of Europe is working across sectors to promote and develop instruments on children’s privacy and personal data, in line with the priorities set by the Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2016-2021). The Steering Committee for the Rights of the Child (CDENF) will cooperate closely with the Consultative Committee of Convention 108 with a view to supporting member states to implement the principles set out in the Recommendation CM/Rec(2018)7 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on Guidelines to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of the child in the digital environment.