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Children’s Code implementation raises concerns for some
Child media useMarketing to childrenData protection & privacy
A week before online services are required to conform with the UK government’s Age Appropriate Design Code, some sectors remain uncertain as to what they need to do.
What’s it about?
The code is a data protection code of practice for online services, such as apps, online games, web and social media sites, that are likely to be accessed by children. A 12-month grace period to allow companies to become compliant ends on September 2.
The Information Commissioner’s Office has highlighted risk areas as coming from social-media platforms, video and music streaming sites and video gaming platforms and including such things as inappropriate adverts, unsolicited messages and friend requests, and privacy-eroding nudges urging children to stay online.
The big ad tech companies have taken action in recent weeks: YouTube announced that its autoplay function would become off by default, Google is removing ad-targeting based on the age, gender or interests of under-18s, Instagram has set restrictions on who can message under-18s and TikTok has introduced time limits on when children can receive push notifications.
But Dom Hallas, executive director at the Coalition for a Digital Economy, told the Financial Times, “The vast majority of businesses still don’t know what obligations they have under the code.”
And since breaking the code carries the same range of penalties as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – which includes a fine of up to 4% of global turnover – businesses, including news websites and e-commerce companies, are understandably concerned.
Age verification is proving a thorny issue, especially for the games industry, and the ICO has indicated it will publish further guidance on this in the autumn.
“Where risk is relatively low, we wouldn’t expect to see short-term action. We’ve been clear about areas where highest potential harms are, so those organisations can take action promptly” – Stephen Bonner, executive director of regulatory futures at the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Sourced from Financial Times, Information Commissioner’s Office