On September 2, 2022, the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act (the “Act”) (effective July 1, 2024) was passed by the California legislature, and on September 15, 2022 was signed into law by Governor Newsom. This Act dramatically expands business obligations and will force entities that provide an online service, product, or feature that is “likely to be accessed by children” (“Product”) to implement stringent privacy settings for users under 18. It aligns in many respects with the United Kingdom’s Age Appropriate Design Code, which passed in 2020. Together, these laws represent a significant shift in the regulatory landscape of children’s digital services.
The overarching policy of the Act is to require such entities to prioritize the best interests of children when developing and implementing their services. The Act implements this policy through a number of stringent requirements, including using language in privacy notices that is age-appropriate, undertaking physical and mental well-being impact assessments for existing and new products and services, and implementing stringent requirements on such entities use of the data as a default.