The children’s code transitionary period, which saw its inception on 2nd September 2020, ends in less than 6 months. All online services are expected to be in compliance with this code by September 2021.
Last year, we reported that the Children’s Code, then known as the Age Appropriate Design Code was about to come into effect on September 2, 2020. Since then, we have been in a transitionary period during which all online services are expected to come into compliance with this code. The ICO has just released a statement urging businesses to ensure that they are in full compliance by the end of this transitionary period, in less than 6 months.
This code is a statutory code of practice laying out 15 standards which are aimed at ensuring children’s best interest online.
The Children’sCode lays out 15 standards to ensure that children’s best interest is at the forefront. These standards include principles governing the best interest of the child, data protection impact assessments, age appropriate application, transparency, detrimental use of data, policies and community standards, default settings, data minimization, data sharing, geolocation, parental controls, profiling, knowledge techniques, connected toys and devices, and online tools. During this transitionary period, online services are expected to take steps to bring their services into full compliance with this code, ensuring that all principles are considered and that their services support the rights of the child.
This code applies to any online product or service likely to be accessed by children and is not limited to only those aimed at children.
This code will apply to every online service that is likely to be accessed by children. This means that not only are services made for children expected to come into compliance but every service that may be accessed by children will need to as well. Online services may take a risk based approach to recognizing the age of their individual uses to ensure that the standards in this code will be applied to child users. Unless the age of the individual users can be established with a level of certainty, this code should be applied to all users on the platform.
The ICO has launched initiatives to detect businesses’ readiness for compliance with this code, as well as educating and sensitizing on the topic of the children’s code.
The ICO recently conducted a survey to gauge general understanding of the age-appropriate design code. Some 500 services were part of this survey from which findings show, so far, that about 75% of businesses are aware of this code. The ICO has set up what is called the Children’s Code hub with a range of resources for organizations to understand the code and to know whether they are in the scope of it. The regulator has also been holding webinars and will also be hosting a workshop at the Festival of UX and Design 2021 to help raise awareness within the design community and explain how this code can be applied to innovative projects. The ICO has also launched a call for transparency champions which will consist of organizations, designing projects using privacy information in a way that is tailored to children’s understanding.