• Spencer Payne

ICO Launches Children’s Code To Protect Them Online

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has launched its new Age Appropriate Design Code, also known as the Children’s Code, with the aim being to provide better online privacy protections for children under the age of 18.

It applies to those organisations providing online products and services that are likely to be accessed by children, with enterprises given 12 months to implement the requisite changes that ensure the privacy of children is put at the very heart of their design.

The code won’t apply to all organisations in the same way, however, and those responsible for designing or providing services like online games, apps, connected toys, streaming services, educational websites and social media platforms will likely have to take more action to ensure conformity.

There are 15 standards included in the code for designers to help them comply with data protection law. It also requires digital services to automatically provide young people with a built-in baseline of data protection whenever a website is visited or a new app or game is downloaded.

Information commissioner Elizabeth Denham said: “his code makes clear that kids are not like adults online, and their data needs greater protections. We want children to be online, learning and playing and experiencing the world, but with the right protections in place.

“We do understand that companies, particularly small businesses, will need support to comply with the code and that’s why we have taken the decision to give businesses a year to prepare, and why we’re offering help and support.”

Some of the changes include privacy settings automatically being set to very high, non-essential location tracking switched off, parents, carers and guardians given more control over privacy settings, children no longer being nudged through notifications to lower privacy settings and more accessible tools to help young people exercise data protection rights.

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