Matt Hancock

The UK government has proposed a new statutory power to make sure children’s data is given an extra layer of protection.

According to a statement, the new power will be introduced as an amendment to the Data Protection Bill.

The government’s new proposals mean the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) will create a statutory code of practice on age-appropriate website design.

The new code will set out standards required of website and app designers relating to privacy for children under the age of 16.

Digital products must be designed to make clear what personal data is being collected, how it will be used, and how both children and adults can stay in control of the information gathered.

The amendment is being supported by Baroness Kidron and Baroness Harding, who have both campaigned for the protection of rights and safety of children online.

Digital Minister Matt Hancock commented on the news: “Our Internet Safety Strategy sets out how we want the UK to be the safest place to be online. To do that we strongly support freedom online, while protecting people, and particularly children, from harm. There is growing evidence on the need for protections for children on social media.

“This statutory code of practice will require tailored protections to be built into websites and apps for children under 16. This must be done in a way that protects the wonderful freedom and opportunity of the internet, without jeopardising the future free flow of data between the UK and EU,” he added.

The amendment builds on a number of protections for children’s data already present in the Bill, including the need to get parental consent before processing the data of children under the age of 13, as well as other rights including the right to be forgotten.