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article imageSocial Media will have to adhere to new child privacy code in UK

By Karen Graham     Jan 22, 2020 in Internet
London - Social media firms will have to adhere to a new code, which aims to help protect children’s privacy online. The UK's data regulator has published a set of standards that it hopes will force tech companies to take protecting children online seriously.
On Wednesday, the UK's Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) sent the Age Appropriate Design Code over to Parliament for its approval. The code would bar social media sites, games and other online platforms from trying to get children to provide personal details or lower their privacy settings.
“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,” Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said, according to The Hill. “In a generation from now, we will look back and find it astonishing that online services weren’t always designed with children in mind.”
The new code includes a set of 15 standards that online services should meet to protect children’s privacy if they operate within the United Kingdom. The code also requires digital services to automatically provide children with a built-in baseline of data protection whenever they download a new app, game or visit a website.
Children are starting at a young age to develop their Internet skills.
Children are starting at a young age to develop their Internet skills.
Ria Boe (CC BY-SA 3.0 DE)
This means privacy settings will need to be set on "High" by default and any "nudging" to get children to lower the privacy settings is not allowed, reports Forbes. Location settings should also be switched off by default.
The code also calls for data collection and sharing to be minimized and any profiling of children should be switched off by default. And, organizations must know the ages of their users.
"Personal data often drives the content that our children are exposed to – what they like, what they search for when they log on and off and even how they are feeling," Denham said.
“One in five Internet users in the UK is a child, but they are using an Internet that was not designed for them. 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."
More about United Kingdom, children's privacy, social media platforms, Age Appropriate Design Code, 15 principles
 
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