Age-Appropriate Design Code
By: Snook
Posted: 31/08/2018

The Age-Appropriate Design Code

We’re helping 5rights get the word out on their call to action to make a submission to the Information Commission Office (ICO)’s consultation on the Age-Appropriate Design Code.
The 5Rights Foundation exists to ensure that children’s rights are observed online. Children’s rights are not optional, however inconvenient.
The Age-Appropriate Design Code was brought into UK legislation by Crossbench Peer, Baroness Kidron, with the support of Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Lord Ashton of Hyde, Opposition Spokesperson, Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, Conservative Peer, Baroness Harding of Winscombe and Liberal Democrat Spokesperson, Lord Clement-Jones of Clapham.
It represents an opportunity to address the asymmetry of power between children and the technology they are using. 5Rights Foundation will make its own submission to the Information Commissioner’s Call for Evidence in September, their initial thoughts are here in a wider briefing.
Their key recommendations for the code are;
The Code must offer a high bar of data privacy by default.
This would reverse current industry norms and would apply, as standard, to all devices and online services likely to access a child or be accessed by children.
Routine failure by an online service to adhere to its own published rules including; joining age, community rules, terms and conditions and privacy notices, should be considered a breach of the Code and subject to enforcement penalties.
Geolocation must be off by default.
Unless a geolocation is service critical (to be determined by the Information Commissioner), it should be off by default.
Childhood Impact Assessments as standard for all existing services and products, and new services and products prior to launch.
The “move fast and break things” and “fail furiously” culture of the technology industry does not hold the best interests of the child as their primary consideration. Introducing child impact assessments before services and products are rolled out would circumvent some of the most obvious data risks. The Commissioner might consider using the Responsible Innovation Framework as defined by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
The Code must introduce universal reporting standards (RRP).
By which we mean the steps a child takes, the information offered, and outcomes of reporting should be similar and therefore become familiar to a child as they grow up. We do not mean that a site cannot use its own brand or speak in their own branded voice.
The Code requires a commitment from government for enforcement.
Unless there is a meaningful likelihood of enforcement, then the ISS are not incentivised to implement the Code in ways that are robust and effective. The ICO needs sufficient expertise and resources, and given the huge wealth of some ISS, the backing from the treasury to fund enforcement.
Making a submission
You can make a submission to the ICO’s consultation on the Age-Appropriate Design Code (closing date 19th September), either as an individual or an organisation. Further information on children’s privacy and the Age-Appropriate Design Code can be found on the Information Commissioner’s blog.
The 5rights foundation is always open to hearing your questions, thoughts and any additions or corrections on their briefing paper, which can be sent to
It is important for the Information Commissioner to hear from a broad range of people, so if you know other people and organisations in your professional or personal life who care about the experience children have online, please encourage them to engage with the submission. They may do so independently but are also welcome to attend a briefing session held by Baroness Kidron on the following date;
Tuesday 4th September, 12:30 – 14:00 in Westminster.
If you would like to attend the session, please email