The UK’s data regulator has published a set of standards which it believes will force tech companies to take protecting children online seriously.
The Appropriate Design Code, drawn up by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) covers everything from apps to connected toys, social media platforms to online games, and even educational websites and streaming services.
It makes it clear firms will be expected to make data protection of young people a priority from the design up. It is hoped the code will come into effect by the autumn of 2021 pending approval from parliament.
The provisions include setting privacy settings to high by default and ending nudge techniques that encourage users to lower them.
Location settings that allow the world to see where a child is, should also be switched off by default, data collection and sharing should be minimised and profiling that can allow children to be served up targeted content should be switched off by default too.
The Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham described the code as “transformational” and told the PA news agency: “I think in a generation from now when my grandchildren have children they will be astonished to think that we ever didn’t protect kids online.