Image Credit: Markus Spiske from Unsplash
***Update: On September 15, 2022, Governor Newsom signed AB 2273, establishing the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act.
Who It Covers, What It Requires & How It Compares to the UK
Effective July 1, 2024, the California Age-Appropriate Design Code imposes obligations on businesses that provide an “online service, product, or feature” that is “likely to be accessed by children.” Children are defined as California residents “who are under 18 years of age.” The law provides factors for whether an online service, product, or feature (S/P/F) is “likely to be accessed” by California residents under the age of 18:
- It is directed to children as defined by COPPA.
- It is determined, based on competent and reliable evidence regarding audience composition, to be routinely accessed by a significant number of children, or it is substantially similar to an online S/P/F that meets this factor.
- It displays advertisements marketed to children.
- It has design elements known to be of interest to children, including games, cartoons, music, and celebrities who appeal to children.
- Based on internal research, a significant amount of the audience is children.
An online S/P/F is defined by what it is not, and the definition notably exempts the “delivery or use of a physical product.” This exemption diverts from the UK version of the law, which covers “connected toys and devices.”
Compared to the UK’s Common-Sense Approach
The US version of the law provides no guidance on what it means for a “significant number of children” to “routinely access” the online S/P/F. However, the law makes clear in its legislative findings that covered businesses may look to guidance and innovation in response to the UK version when developing US-covered online S/P/F.
ICO states that the term “likely to be accessed by” is purposefully broad, covering “services that children [are] using in reality,” not just those services specifically targeting children. However, ICO recognizes that the term is not so broad as to “cover all services that children could possibly access.” The key difference is whether it is “more probable than not” that an online S/P/F will be accessed by children, and businesses should take a “common sense approach to this question.”
To illustrate this point:Continue Reading THE CALIFORNIA AGE-APPROPRIATE DESIGN CODE