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Denmark looks to curb collection of data on children by Big Tech

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COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Denmark aims to raise the age limit for the collection of personal data from children by tech giants such as Google, Snapchat and Meta, in a bid to curb the massive accumulation of data on young people, the government said on Monday.

It wants to raise to between 15 and 16 years the age at which children can consent to share personal data with tech companies, from 13 now. The companies will also require parental consent to use data from children younger than that.

“The tech giants must take greater responsibility,” business minister Morten Bodskov said as the government unveiled initiatives to rein in the influence of global tech companies.

“We must put an end to their opaque algorithms, which use crazy methods to keep children and adults in front of the screen and harvest unimaginable amounts of personal information.”

The step comes as Germany has set an age limit of 16 years, while more European countries, from Hungary to Lithuania and the Netherlands, are working on similar laws.

The United States is working on an online privacy bill, that would bar companies from collecting personal information on those aged 16 or younger without consent and require companies to allow young users to erase personal information.

The initiatives, intended to become law later this year, are based on the recommendations of an expert panel.

They would also look to introduce age-verification measures on websites and apps to keep children away from sensitive content such as porn or war videos, the business ministry said in a statement.

(Reporting by Johannes Birkebaek and Nikolaj Skydsgaard; Additional reporting by Supantha Mukherjee; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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