The failure of privacy law from a design perspective

Privacy is a fundamental human right, included in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whose article 12 states that “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence […].” The idea of privacy in 1948 is different from the contemporary concept of privacy and data protection. After WWII, the most worrying violations of privacy rights were performed by governments. The possibilities for private companies to abusively breach privacy rights were limited and, more importantly, there was no real business need for it. Surveillance capitalism, as described by Prof. Shoshana Zuboff in her 2019 book “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism” was not born yet.

[relatório] Age appropriate design: A code of practice for online services

Data sits at the heart of the digital services children use every day. From the moment a young person opens an app, plays a game or loads a website, data begins to be gathered. Who’s using the service? How are they using it? How frequently? Where from? On what device?

That information may then inform techniques used to persuade young people to spend more time using services, to shape the content they are encouraged to engage with, and to tailor the advertisements they see.

For all the benefits the digital economy can offer children, we are not currently creating a safe space for them to learn, explore and play.

This statutory code of practice looks to change that, not by seeking to protect children from the digital world, but by protecting them within it.