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September 18, 2023

Ian Russell: Online Safety Bill will have failed if harm not stopped

  • Online Safety campaigner, Ian Russell has said the test of the Online Safety Bill will be whether it prevents the kind of images his daughter Molly saw before she took her own life.
  • The bill is in its final parliamentary stages and is due to be law imminently.
  • It aims to make social media companies more responsible for their users’ safety on their platforms and to crack down on illegal content.
  • Mr Russell told the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg that the bill “will make the online world safer”.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

TikTok fined €345m over children’s data privacy

  • Irish regulators, the Data Protection Commission (DPC) have fined TikTok for violating children’s privacy.
  • The complaint surfaced in 2020 around how the social media app handled children’s data.
  • A spokesperson for the social media firm states that it “respectfully disagree[s] with the decision, particularly the level of the fine imposed”.
  • Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon told the BBC News that the inquiry found that accounts made by young people aged between 13 and 17 were made public by default upon registration.
  • TikTok has been given three months to make its data processing completely comply with GDPR.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

Sexual abuse campaigners urge tech firms to protect children on social media platforms

  • A coalition of more than 100 sexual abuse survivors, families and child safety experts have written to the heads of major tech platforms demanding they take urgent action to ensure their services are safe for children.
  • It urges companies to engage with survivors to assess the child safety risks of new and current products, including end-to-end encrypted messaging services.
  • The letter comes as the UK’s Online Safety Bill is in its final stages in Parliament before being passed into law.
  • WhatsApp have said the provision regarding end-to-end encryption in the Bill, would compromise people’s ability to communicate securely.
  • However, Michelle Donelan, the Tecnology Secretary, insisted that the legislation had not watered down measures to curb encryption.
  • For more, please visit the MSN website.

Gilnahirk Primary: No heat or hot meals for weeks at Belfast School

  • Principal David Corbett said chronic underfunding and a lack of investment is having a direct day-to-day impact on pupils’ experiences.
  • The school had to close its canteen as a result of maintenance issues that will take weeks to resolve.
  • The Education Authority (EA) has revealed that Gilnahirk is not the only school affected.
  • Mr Corbett expressed concerns, as he fears not being able to keep children warm for weeks and argued that some students only get a hot meal when they attend school, labelling the situation as “unacceptable.”
  • Mr Corbett continued: “A big part of it is the approach to maintenance issues in schools is to put a sticking plaster on it. There’s no real long-term thinking in relation to those issues.” and “I felt the children at Gilnahirk aren’t getting a fair deal.”
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

Irish university: A-level criteria ‘disadvantaging NI applicants’

  • Maximum admission points can only be achieved by students who take four A-levels, however, only an estimated 4% take four.
  • A new report by the Economic and Social Research Institue (ESRI) in partnership with the Irish government’s Shared Island Unit, said that a modern language requirement for many RoI universities is disadvantaging applications north of the border.
  • The report said it was re-examining how many points A-levels got, given how few NI pupils took four subjects and the lower uptake of foreign languages.
  • It added that accommodation costs and lack of housing availability in the RoI were “barriers to students moving from Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK”.
  • Ireland’s Higher Education Minister Simon Harris stated he is “committed to working with higher and further education institutions, and with partners in the UK government and Northern Ireland, to make it easy as possible for students to study in either jurisdiction.”
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

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