Tech Regulator Introduces New Code for Child Accounts

By Gary Cutlack on at

The Information Commissioner's Office has launched a new online code today, designed to force the usual tracking, advertising and monitoring giants to be a bit more respectful when there's probably a child behind the clicks and taps.

The Appropriate Design Code wants to stop children being "datafied" by the tech world before they've even come up with a good pretend online alias, warning that "thousands of data points" are generated by the online activities of children almost certainly without them knowing – or caring – about what's going on and how their activities are being matched and sold.

The primary demand of the statutory code is that age appropriate design is rolled out across all internet presences and connected devices, one that alters default behaviours to switch off tracking, location data and the like, and does a better job of informing children what's likely to happen should they yield to an unassuming app's request to have access to their location. And photos. And dad's credit card number.

Oddly, though, the children should be warned if there's another rogue actor monitoring their activities – mum or dad. The code asks that children are told if they're operating under the towelling-clad fist of parental control options, and kids need to know if all their YouTube searches are popping up, live, on dad's phone history, waiting for the moment little Johnny comes of age and discovers Miley Cyrus' Wrecking Ball video. [ICO via Sky News]