Internet usage affected in Britain because of ICO’s code redesign to protect Children‘s Data


ICO’s code is undoubtedly, a much-needed move for the protection of children, but comes with significant restrictions.  Now companies will have to makes changes for all internet users if they could not identify age, “Establish age with a level of certainty that is appropriate to the risks to the rights and freedoms of children that arise from [their] data processing." It will have a severe impact on how people will use the internet in Great Britain.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham  said in a statement, "The code is a set of 15 flexible standards — they do not ban or specifically prescribe — that provides built-in protection to allow children to explore, learn and play online by ensuring that the best interests of the child are the primary consideration when designing and developing online services,"

The privacy settings of the companies now will be set as high by default. It is a big change for companies.

The code descriptions clearly define what the Privacy settings mean, "This means that children’s data is only visible or accessible to other users of the service if the child amends their settings to allow this," reads the code's description of what "high privacy" settings mean.

Companies are also ordered not to use the children’s data for any purpose and can only use if the reason is compelling enough.

"This also means that unless the setting is changed, your own use of the children’s personal data is limited to use that is essential to the provision of the service. Any optional uses of personal data, including any, uses designed to personalize the service have to be individually selected and activated by the child."

"Similarly, any settings which allow third parties to use personal data have to be activated by the child."

However, the location setting is not something stressed upon. They have suggested that default settings should keep the geolocation off as any app or setting that makes a child’s location assessable should be curbed.

These are some significant changes that will undoubtedly protect a child’s privacy and data, but the change will impact adults as well. Executive Director of Open Rights Group gave a statement, “The ICO has made some useful changes to their code, which makes it clear that age verification is not the only method to determine the age. However, the ICO doesn't know how their code will change adults' access to content in practice.”

He even pointed out that adults looking for legal sites, news, and social media will have to now go through age verification every time, which will be a huge issue. He feels that there is a need for impact assessment, and parliament should consider the implications of the code on adults before sanctioning the approval.

The news divided the population in two, but there are many unanswered like its impact on the people outside Britain and strictness of the law. Only the time will tell whether it was a wise move or a failed attempt.