France Proposes Age-of-Consent Rule for Facebook Users

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All French children under the age of 16 will have to seek parental approval to open an account on Facebook or any other social network under draft legislation presented on Wednesday.The requirement is part of a French bill that seeks to adapt data privacy regulations and improve access to the information Internet companies gather, store and in many cases sell to other firms about people’s online activity.

“Joining Facebook will involve parental authorisation for minors aged under 16,” Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet told reporters.She was presenting the outlines of a data privacy bill that was approved at a weekly cabinet meeting. It now goes to parliament for approval before it can become law.

The bill aims to ensure easier access for users to all the data companies collect so they can more easily seek to have certain details amended or deleted.

The minister said signing up to join a social network would involve ticking a box to confirm that approval from parents or rightful guardians had been obtained, and that the box-tick amounted to a declaration governed by law.

It was not clear how enforceable such a process would be.

Separately, Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said this week that mobile phones would be banned in schools from the start of the next school year.

Use of mobile phones is already forbidden in classrooms, so the ban would likely cover their use during breaks and at lunchtime.

Blanquer said on RTL radio on Sunday that his ministry was working out the details, but some schools already had a full ban, proving that it could be done though some exceptions had to be made for teaching or emergency purposes.

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