Authorities in California, USA may tighten requirements on children’s data protection. Game companies are prohibited from tracking data.
Local officials have drafted a bill that would ban game and tech companies with headquarters from tracking the personal information of children and young people. This can affect the likes of Meta, Google, Activision Blizzard and Riot Games.
According to the bill, a similar section to the so-called Child code, passed in the UK in 2020. British authors of the code from the ICO were involved in the development of the version for California. .
Project California is expected to ban online services: collection of personal data of minors; tracking the whereabouts of children; target them with ads; Encourage children to share information about themselves.
Violating companies will be fined (or taken to court) if they violate this law. Its size is not specified, but in the UK they account for 4% of the company’s global revenue.
The California bill was passed bipartisan. The bill will take effect on July 1, 2024. The Politico portal notes that many companies may object to the development strategy and nature of game products under this regulation.
Buffy Wicks, one of those involved in drafting the bill, believes that if all goes well, similar rules could be applied in other US states in the future. So far, California is the first to plan to accept the regulation banning the tracking of children’s data on technology games and apps.
However, the US is not the only country that could introduce a similar rule to the UK. Similar rules based on the Children’s Code are being developed in Ireland, Australia and Canada.
Under the new law, tech companies will also have to put in place special age-appropriate content policies and restrict children from profiling targeted ads.
As pointed out by CA MP Buffy Wicks, the bill has bipartisan support and is based on the UK’s age-appropriate design code, which she calls “the blueprint for written legislation around the world”.
Similar changes are likely to happen in the US soon, as a lot of tech companies are based in California. The list includes Google, Meta, as well as game developers like Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard, and Riot Games.