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Children to receive more data protection rights

There are concerns that in a digital world, children’s personal information is being gathered and used to bombard them with targeted advertising. This leaves young people's personal information at risk of exposure online.

Cross-bench peer Baroness Beeban Kidron, a vocal supporter of children's digital rights, has put her name against a new government amendment to the Data Protection Bill, which will create guidelines for age-appropriate website design.

'This amendment establishes in UK law that children have a right to a higher level of data protection in the digital environment. It connects design of services with the development needs of children and it will give the information commissioner a code by which to judge online services data provisions in relation to children,' explains Lady Kidron. 

‘[The bill] unequivocally establishes that children are children - even online. And I hope that now this is established all of us can work to make certain that it is reflected in every aspect of a child’s digital life,’ she continues.

Digital minister Matt Hancock said his department had agreed to create a statutory process by which a code from the information commissioner’s office on age-appropriate website design could be produced. It will set new standards of privacy on websites and apps for children under 18 that will make clear what personal data is being collected, how it is being used and how children and parents can stay in control of their data.

Proposed website guidelines for coders: 

  • Avoid sharing and resale of children’s personal information and data
  • Activating default privacy settings
  • More accessible and age-appropriate terms and conditions information
  • Geo-location and tracking technology
  • Transparency of paid for activity, such as product placement and marketing
  • Strategies used to encourage children to stay on certain apps and sites for a long time 
  • Provide reporting and support services 
  • Understand and activate a child’s right to erasure, rectification and restriction
  • Provide advice from independent, specialist advocates on all data rights

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