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AVG wants new legislation covering the Internet of Things for the sake of children

AVG wants legislators to devise a plan that stops data gathering firms from spying on children by placing limits on how much can be collected from portable devices.

Related: IT data protection for SMBs

Yuval Ben-Itzhak, the company’s CTO, will tell the Child Internet Safety Summit that there should be limits on the amount and types of data that can be gathered from children’s devices, according to The Register.

"Businesses can not just simply track and share my children's data by default. You need my consent to do that," Ben-Itzhak said. "It's time to tell vendors where the line lies. If there are not any law, they are just going to [keep gathering data on minors]. We need to tell lawmakers and influencers that there could be a problem."

AVG has had an interest in the data privacy ever since it launched a data protection product known as PrivacyFix, which came out shortly after the widespread whistleblowing by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

As well as limits on data gathering from children, AVG also wants an end to the lack of policy when it comes to the Internet of Things [IoT] as there is almost nothing to limit smart devices from collecting information on children. Parents or guardians need to be provided clear guidelines on what data is collected and give permission before anything is gathered and sent on to the company involved.

"Big companies don't care unless there is a law. Life today is different and children live in a different environment. Companies that collect data and infringe privacy are not necessarily the bad guys, but they often end up doing things which society considers wrong,” he added. "Privacy is not a black-and-white issue like malware or security. It's grey in the middle, which is why there is legislation needed."

In the UK, the Office of the Information Commissioner recently provided guidance on wearable devices and stipulated that there should be no data collected that breaches the Data Protection Act. This made no specific mention of child protection and it remains to be seen whether anyone takes notice of AVG’s thoughts on the subject.