Concerns raised over Instagram leaking private contact data of Children!
Galatta | Oct 19, 2020, 08:12 pm
Each and every advancement in the field of technology, comes with its own boons & banes! Ever since the advent of social media and smartphones, privacy has always been a concern. Now, a new such concern has come to light! Europe's lead data regulator for Facebook has now begun two probes into Facebook's businesses, especially Instagram and how it processes children's information. This action has been initiated by Ireland's Data Protection Commission (DPC) and has happened over a year after a US data scientist initially raised concerns to Instagram about the platform leaking contact information of minors. The scientist David Stier went on to publish the details of his investigation, stating that Instagram had not made any changes to prevent the accessibility of minors' data.
The investigation had identified that when children changed their Instagram account settings to reflect theirs as a business account, then their personal details like email address and phone number had been displayed openly. Stier argued that millions of children now had their personal information exposed, due to the way Instagram functions. However, Facebook had responded that it has always maintained transparency in mentioning that contact information would be displayed openly whenever an Instagram account was changed to a business account. Currently, Facebook has also brought in an option to allow people to choose not to display their contact information, if they chose to convert their Instagram account to a business one.
However, the EU regulator has stated that it has identified potential concerns, related to how children's data is being processed by Instagram. The two probes by the regulator were opened late last month over claims that Instagram had put children at risk of hacking, by revealing their contact details. Ireland's DPC has not revealed a lot of details but stated that it has indeed started two statutory inquiries into Facebook's fully owned platform Instagram, over the handling of children's data. There are very specific provisions in Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), related to the processing of children's information. A hard cap has been set for kids to be at least 13 years of age before they can give consent for their data to be processed. Stay tuned for updates...