Culture 3 min read

UK Proposes Standards to Protect the Online Privacy of Children

HQuality / Shutterstock.com

HQuality / Shutterstock.com

U.K. proposes new rules to safeguard the online privacy of children, ensuring that violators will be severely punished if caught.

The United Kingdom has introduced new child data privacy rules to protect the online privacy of children

Recently, tech companies have been under increasing pressure to provide better data privacy, especially for young people. Authorities in the United States, Ireland, and other parts of the world are already working on updating their rulebooks.

However, the United Kingdom appears to have a major step in this regard. On Wednesday, the country’s information commissioner’s office released a set of standards to protect children’s online privacy.

Speaking to the press about the child privacy laws, UK Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham said:

“There are laws to protect children in the real world – film ratings, car seats, age restrictions on drinking and smoking. We need our laws to protect children in the digital world too.”

Let’s delve deeper.

Laws to Protect the Online Privacy of Children in the UK

Here’s the breakdown of the new rules.

No More Nudge Techniques

Tech companies will no longer be allowed to use “nudge techniques.” An example of such is making one option appear more accessible than the alternative.

Aside from using the technique to collect personal data from kids, companies also use it to weaken or turn off privacy protections.

Also, companies have to verify a user’s age – even better, apply the code’s standard to all users.

Child’s Location Should Be Off By Default

The proposed privacy law for kids requires that tech companies switch off the sharing and broadcasting of location by default. Also, the firms are not allowed to profile children for behavioral advertising.

Other requirements include making “high privacy” settings the default option and holding a minimal amount of personal data.

Display children-friendly Content

The law requires that online services display contents that are in children’s best interest. They can’t use the collected data to auto-recommend harmful material such as videos supporting anorexia or suicide.

The Standards of the Age Appropriate Design Code

Companies must meet the 15 standards of the age-appropriate design code. It’s a code of practice for online services that children are likely to access.

These include apps, streaming services, social media platforms, educational websites, online games, etc.

Violating the Children’s Online Privacy Laws

The law promises severe punishments for violators.

In severe cases, the fines could be as much as 4 percent of the company’s global revenue. For social media giants like Facebook, that could cost billions of dollars.

Once the parliament approves the new rules, companies will get a 12-month transition period to adapt to the changes. That means the laws could come in full effect by the autumn of 2021.

In a generation from now, we will look back and find it astonishing that online services weren’t always designed with children in mind,” Denham concluded.

Read More: California Consumer Privacy Act Is Now in Full Effect

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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