California to pass UK child data law as part of global campaign against big tech

California lawmakers plan to introduce a new bill on Thursday to protect children’s data online, mirroring the UK’s recently introduced Children’s Code, amid growing global momentum to stricter regulation of Big Tech.

California’s proposed age-appropriate design code law will require many of the world’s biggest tech platforms to be headquartered in the state, such as Google’s social media group Meta and YouTube. to limit the amount of data they collect from young users and tracking the whereabouts of children in the state.

If passed, it will also impose restrictions on the profiling of younger users for targeted advertising, require the introduction of “age-appropriate” content policies, and prohibit serving behavioral nudges that could incentivize them. weaken their privacy protections.

The move shows how global policymakers are increasingly working together and influencing each other, while big tech companies have launched frantic lobbying efforts against other upcoming laws that target their state operations. United States, Europe and beyond.

California’s bill, which has bipartisan support, comes as U.S. lawmakers increasingly voice concerns about protecting children online and call for rules to better protect privacy, safety and health children’s minds.

It was modeled after the UK’s age-appropriate design code, now a regulatory model also being developed in countries like Ireland, Australia and Canada. Last June, members of the US Senate and Congress called major US tech and video game companies to voluntarily adopt the UK Code for American Children, saying the companies have an obligation to ensure their online services prioritize the well-being of young users,” no matter where they live.”

“This will be a first bill in the country,” said Buffy Wicks, California Congresswoman and co-author of the bill. “Given the size and scope of California, you have a lot of these California-based companies. . . we have the ability to have a ripple effect,” she said.

Wicks described the UK code as a “proven concept”. This has prompted some of the biggest social media platforms, including YouTube, Instagram and TikTok, to introduce new safety measures for young people. Last summer, in the months before the UK code came into effect, YouTube said it would disable autoplay by default on videos and enable reminders to “take a break” and “time to bedtime” for children under 18.

Meanwhile, Instagram has introduced a new feature preventing adults from messaging unfollowers under 18, among other changes. TikTok said it would no longer send push notifications to younger users later tonight.

Beeban Kidron, a member of the House of Lords who originally proposed the amendment to Britain’s Data Act, said it was defeated, both “directly and indirectly” by lobbyists from several major tech companies in the prospect of British Code drafting in recent years.

“Directly, a number of tech reps told me what a bad idea [the code] was that it was an act of hubris trying to control Silicon Valley from Winslow,” she said, referring to where the UK’s privacy watchdog, the Office of the Information Commissioner, is based. But she added, “Often, where California goes, so does the nation. I think that’s really important.

Where UK code breaches can result in fines, the California Attorney General would be responsible for enforcing state rules, with potential actions such as litigation or fines.

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