Having initially been published in January, the Age Appropriate Design Code 2020 came into force on 2 September 2020.
The Code sets out 15 headline standards of age appropriate design which are intended to ensure that services appropriately safeguard children’s personal data and process their personal data fairly.
Much of the Code echoes current data protection requirements, but it contains clear examples and diagrams which may be helpful for those required to implement the Code.
While there is debate around whether the Code will make a substantive difference, it has been welcomed by children's charities and in the foreword to the code, the Information Commissioner suggests that the hope is for a cultural change.
Following a period of consultation, there will be a 12 month period for relevant providers to ensure compliance with the Code.
Developers and those in the digital sector must act. We have allowed the maximum transition period of 12 months and will continue working with the industry. We want coders, UX designers and system engineers to engage with these standards in their day-to-day to work and we’re setting up a package of support to help. But the next step must be a period of action and preparation. I believe companies will want to conform with the standards because they will want to demonstrate their commitment to always acting in the best interests of the child. Those companies that do not make the required changes risk regulatory action. What’s more, they risk being left behind by those organisations that are keen to conform. A generation from now, I believe we will look back and find it peculiar that online services weren’t always designed with children in mind.