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Privacy watchdog throws wider net to protect children online – Naked Security


Each day in the US, more than 3,000 15- to 18-year-olds attempt suicide. According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s the second most prevalent cause of death among adolescents aged 15-19 years.

Online services could help to prevent that and other types of harm that are befalling kids, but they aren’t doing enough, the UK’s data watchdog says. It’s high time that social media sites, online games and children’s streaming services start weaving protection for kids into every aspect of design, according to the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

On Tuesday, the ICO published a code to ensure that online companies do just that – protect kids from harm, be it showing kids suicidal content, grooming by predators, illegal collection and profiteering off of children’s data, or all the “smart” toys and gadgets that enable children’s locations to be tracked and for creeps to eavesdrop on them.

Elizabeth Denham, the UK’s Information Commissioner, said that future generations will look back on these days and wonder how in the world we could have lacked such a code. Here’s what she told the Press Association, according to the BBC:

I think in a generation from now when my grandchildren have children they will be astonished to think that we ever didn’t protect kids online. I think it will be as ordinary as keeping children safe by putting on a seat belt.

The set of 15 standards – named the Age Appropriate Design Code – will be “transformational,” she said.

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