New app privacy laws for children come into effect today

  • New privacy guidelines on apps and services that are used by children come into effect today, giving developers 12 months to comply.

    Back in January, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office published its Age Appropriate Design Code standards, a set of 15 standards that all online services should meet in order to protect the privacy of children online. The new design standard covers all apps, websites, social media platforms, streaming services, online games, and connected toys that are likely to be accessed by children.

    The standards are designed to provide maximum privacy by default on services used by children, requiring that data privacy settings be set to a high level automatically rather than requiring the user to switch privacy features on. Data collection and sharing of personal information must also be minimised, location settings turned off, and targeted content such as advertising limited.

    The new design code is a reaction to an increasing trend by global tech giants such as Facebook and Google to collect personal data on users and use it for things such as targeted advertising. Children can't consent to collection of their personal data but most now have smartphones and tablets that are collecting their data.

    With the new rules now finalised and in force, developers have a 12 month grace period to adapt their apps and services to the new standards. Companies failing to comply with the new guidelines by September 2nd 2021 could face steep fines for failing to protect the privacy of children.

    Source: ICO

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    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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