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Cautious Welcome For Children's Marketing Reforms

Independent ACT Senator David Pocock has cautiously welcomed the reforms announced today to better protect the privacy of children and young Australians.

The Government’s response to the Privacy Act Review shows the Government has either agreed or agreed-in-principle with all the recommendations in relation to children’s online privacy.

“Children and young people are not products and their data should not be treated as a commodity by advertisers or platforms as currently happens,” said Senator Pocock.

“It is estimated that around 72 million data points will have been collected on a young person by age 13, which is an extremely detailed picture of a young person and their interests.

“In speaking with public health experts and digital rights experts over the past year, it’s clear that our current laws and regulations are failing to properly protect children’s data from being bought, sold or traded for the purposes of highly targeted marketing.

“If you sit down with a young person and scroll through their Instagram or Tiktok, you’ll see dozens of targeted gambling, alcohol and junk food ads, which are becoming more targeted and more personalised as martech continues to advance.

“These reforms appear to be a step in the right direction and in particular I welcome the strong indication from the Government that it will seek to prohibit the trading of children’s data.

“However, while an encouraging first step, I’m keen to see the detail and look at the fine print as it develops.”

In addition to the reforms on children’s privacy, Senator Pocock said he was keen to look at the broader suite of reforms, noting that many Australians were expecting strong action on privacy given the number of damaging data breaches that have occurred over the past year.

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