Ontario plans legislation to protect students’ data, limit access to harmful online content

The provincial government aims to protect students' data from being used or sold for 'predatory marketing'

The Ontario government plans to introduce new legislation it says will help protect the privacy of children and limit access to harmful content online. The province will also appeal to social media giants for help.

According to the Toronto Star, Stephen Lecce, minister of education, and Todd McCarthy, minister of public and business service delivery, announced the plan on May 9th.

To start, the legislation would enable the creation of protections for children’s information to prevent it from being stolen or used inappropriately “due to cyber incidents,” explained a news release from the government. The release also mentioned that future regulations “could include age-appropriate standards for software programs on devices, like laptops, used by students at school.”

The legislation could also strengthen standards for software procurement to help schools avoid the use or sale of student data for “predatory marketing by third parties.”

Additionally, the government plans to work with school boards, parents and groups that oversee children in provincial settings to make sure it introduces the right protections while ensuring the protections don’t hurt the quality of education.

The move comes after Lecce announced more plans to clamp down on cellphone use in schools, another such plan from the Ford government after previous attempts proved unenforceable. Meanwhile, several Ontario school boards sued social media giants, alleging their products harm students’ mental health and well-being. The allegations have yet to be proven in court.

Header image credit: Shutterstock

Source: Ontario Via: Toronto Star

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