TIGA, the network for video games developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the video games industry, has responded to the Information Commissioner’s Office’s (ICO) request for feedback on its draft Age Appropriate Design Code of Practice.
The ‘Age appropriate design: a code of practice for online services‘ has been published to provide design standards that the Commissioner will expect providers of online ‘Information Society Services’ (ISS), which process personal data and are likely to be accessed by children, to meet. The scope of the Code includes apps, programs, websites, games or community environments, and connected toys or devices with or without a screen.
TIGA wrote to the ICO to recommend further consultation with stakeholders before implementing the Code in its current form. TIGA’s letter to the ICO included the following points:
- Use of the term ‘likely’ could be interpreted broadly and extend the scope of the service providers subject to the Code. The definition of ‘likely’ should be clearly set out within the Code. This would help enable those games developers who do not make games for children to demonstrate that it is not ‘likely’ children will access their games and so are not subject to this Code.
- Under the ‘online tools’ section of the draft Code, service providers are expected to ‘provide prominent and accessible tools to help children exercise their data protection rights and report concerns.’ The tools provided must also be age-appropriate and tailored to the age of the child in question. The requirements under this section of the Code may require developers to build different versions of the same game for each age group, with different age-appropriate online tools. At present, the requirement is unclear.
- Lack of clarity over how some aspects of the Code relate to data protection, as well as lack of clarity over what exactly is expected in order to comply with the Code.
Dr Richard Wilson OBE, CEO of TIGA, said:
“Safeguarding players must be a top priority for our industry. It is important that proportionate actions are taken by games developers, digital publishers and platform providers to protect the interests and wellbeing of players, especially children.
“We look forward to the ICO’s response. We hope that the ICO will clearly set out what developers and digital publishers need to do to comply with the Code .”