|A new survey has found that many people with intellectual
disabilities don’t know about the dangers of using the Internet.
Not understanding the “Terms and Conditions” is one example of a dangerous situation.
Being bullied online because of having a disability is another example.
Because of this, the partners of the SafeSurfing project want the EU to protect people with intellectual disabilities
when using the Internet.
The SafeSurfing project exists to train people with intellectual disabilities to use the Internet in a safer way.
Inclusion Europe and its partners in the SafeSurfing Project are calling on European Union policy-makers to take into account the needs of people with intellectual disabilities when deciding on the wording of the draft General Data Protection Regulation.
An online consultation developed by the SafeSurfing Project revealed that most people with intellectual disabilities are unaware of the dangers they face when sharing their personal information online. Their parents and carers have also reported that many persons with intellectual disabilities had difficulties understanding the terms and conditions of using certain software and applications, not fully comprehending services they were subscribing to, and also receiving online abuse because of their disability.
Although technological innovation has a tremendously positive effect on the lives of many, the risks associated with the ubiquity of technological tools are often underestimated, particularly the effect this exclusion has on the most vulnerable groups in society.
Amy Clarke, who has an intellectual disability and is working on the SafeSurfing project, said: “I feel that accessibility is very important. All sorts of people need to understand how to use the internet safely so easy-to-read guides are vital. I think it’s important to stay safe online and not to reveal too much information about yourself. Otherwise people can hack into your accounts and you can be attacked by cyber bullies.”
Inclusion Europe and its partners welcome the emphasis on informed consent, transparency and privacy by design, and particularly on the need for users to consciously agree or disagree with data processing. Moreover, SafeSurfing partners fully agree with users receiving free and easy to understand information on how their data is being processed. However, what is easy to comprehend for one person could prove to be quite difficult for another. Because of this, people with intellectual disabilities would need to be provided such information in an accessible, easy-to-read format, following the European Standards for Making Information Easy to Read and Understand. Presenting information in such a manner would not only benefit people with intellectual disabilities, but also children or older people.
Therefore, being today the European Data Protection Day, SafeSurfing partners are calling on European Union policy-makers to take into account the needs of people with intellectual disabilities when deciding on the wording of the draft General Data Protection Regulation.
The SafeSurfing Project is carried out with support from the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme of the European Union.
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