California Age-Appropriate Design Code Aims to Address Growing Concern About Children’s Online Privacy and Safety

Authors: Chloe Altieri, Kewa Jiang

Kewa Jiang, CIPP/US, is a 2021 graduate of USC Gould School of Law and a Student Contractor with FPF’s Youth and Education Privacy team.

On May 26, 2022, AB-2273, the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act (ADCA) unanimously passed the California Assembly and moved to the Senate for consideration. California Assembly Members Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) and Jordan Cunningham (R-Templeton) proposed AB-2273, earlier this year. The bill is modeled after the United Kingdom’s Age Appropriate Design Code (AADC) and aims to regulate the collection, processing, storage, and transfer of children’s data. The bill takes a substantially different approach to youth privacy than the leading federal framework, extending heightened protections to individuals under age 18, covering entities that provide services likely to be accessed by a minor (even if the provider lacks actual knowledge that children use the service), and requiring age-appropriate language for privacy disclosures.  The bill is moving through the California legislature at a time when young people are increasingly engaging with their peers online and using digital services for entertainment, educational, and other purposes. Given the rise in young users, there is growing international concern for children’s online data privacy and the effects online content can have on children’s mental and physical health. 

President Joe Biden emphasized the increasing need for children’s online protections in his State of the Union Address on March 1, 2022. He called upon Congress to provide stronger privacy protections for children, ban targeted advertising to children, and hold social

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