This week Great Britain announced sweeping and massive new online protection legislation for children. Even though numerous trade groups and tech companies, both in Britain and in the United States, have lodged strong protests against the new rules — calling them ‘unreasonable.’ The new rules will mandate, among other things, that gaming apps, online toys, and especially social networks that handle such a large volume of children’s posts and responses, must overhaul the way they gather, store, and use personal information from anyone under the age of eighteen.
Specifically, the new rules required social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube to dial up every privacy filter possible as the default mode for every minor that uses their sites. The new regulations also spell out strict procedures for disconnecting each and every data-mining crawler, cookies, or other device used on people under the age of 18. Such things as location track in Britain and even targeted advertising for children will not be banned — and stiff penalties will be applied to those who disregard the new rulings.
It is expected the new rules will go into effect two months after being approved by Parliament next month.
Some groups say the new laws go too far to protect children’s privacy, denying advertisers the chance to exhibit their latest offerings — but privacy advocates contend that children are not able to fully distinguish between prudent buying and impulse buying and need protection.