Spanish government law to protect minors online is on right track but needs ambition and consensus


The European Association for Digital Transition (EADT) takes a positive view on the draft law to protect minors in the digital realm, presented on June 4, 2024 following the Council of Ministers meeting. But all these measures could end up being ineffective if they are not implemented ambitiously, demanding accountability from platforms and online services, and with political consensus above and beyond partisanship. “It is not about pressuring companies just because, but rather about protecting children and adolescents from specific phenomena that are very dangerous”, says Ana Caballero, vice president of the EADT and spokeswoman for the organisation on issues affecting minors.

The EADT recalls that more than a year ago in conjunction with other specialised organizations – Dale una Vuelta, Fundación ANAR, iCmedia, Save the Children and UNICEF España – it promoted a proposal for a state pact that was presented at the Ateneo in Madrid on June 9, 2023. At that time we were convinced it was necessary to put the protection of minors online at the forefront of the public agenda. And not only have we done that, but legislative reforms are already in the works. From this point of view we are extremely pleased, given that this initiative came from civil society. Growing social awareness has caused a political reaction. Since its launch, the proposal for a state pact has seen more than 200 civil society organisations get on board and has gotten institutional support from the Attorney General’s Office, the National Commission on Markets and Competition, Injuve and the Spanish Data Protection Agency.

Regarding the preliminary draft approved by the Council of Ministers, what the EADT feels is lacking is more consensus among the different political groups and administrations so that the measures adopted can be truly effective. In this respect, the organisation considers it important that the report done by the group of experts convened by the Ministry of Youth and Children, which is chaired by Ana Caballero, be taken into account.

The group of experts, which brings together psychologists, educators, lawyers, privacy experts, etc., to analyse all aspects of the digital life of minors, will have its final report ready, as decided when they began their work, in September. This report will be the basis for a National Strategy for the Protection of Minors in the digital realm, as confirmed by the Minister of Justice, the President’s Office and Parliamentary Relations, Félix Bolaños, at the press conference following the Council of Ministers meeting.

“This is a very serious issue that should be above partisan debates: We are working to protect a vulnerable population, that is, children and adolescents. Without consensus, any legislation in this area will be incomplete”, concludes Caballero.