Tech firms operating in the UK are now legally obliged to secure the digital world for children, thanks to a landmark law that came into force on Thursday. Firms that do not comply could be fined up to 4% of their global annual turnover.
Age appropriate design code.Also known as the Children’s Code, it is the first of its kind, and represents a key theme of big tech. The law requires online firms – including social media platforms, gaming platforms and search engines – to respect children’s privacy and personal data, minimizing their interference.
Tech firms have already introduced compliance changes not only in the UK but also globally. Instagram no longer allows anonymous adults to send messages under the age of 18. YouTube Kids has removed AutoPlay, so children can be fed endless videos. And Google has said it will stop targeting ads under the age of 18.
Baroness Beban Kadron, chair of the children’s rights organization 5 Rights, said the law would address online commercial exploitation of children. He said the new law recognizes for the first time that the digital world should treat children differently than the real world. “It marks a new era of responsibility for the tech industry. It’s a great day for kids.”
Image: Kelly Schema