On 15 September 2021, EndCode and the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, will co-host the launch of the Model Guidelines on Age-Appropriate Design for Online Services — an Impact Amplifier Africa Online Safety Fund project, funded by Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm.
The Model Guidelines is a set of principle statements and recommendations on how online service providers provide for children’s privacy at the design-stage of online products and services. The Guidelines consider global best practices and emerging recommendations in this area to take a proactive approach to the safety and privacy of children online.
The Guidelines interpret South Africa’s Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 for organisations including industry (advertisers, marketers, e-commerce operators, website and platform owners and developers), industry bodies/associations, and Regulators who need to provide for safeguards for children using online products and services.
The launch event will include a presentation on issues relating children’s privacy online by Dr Elvis Fokala of the Centre for Human Rights, a presentation on the Model Guideline by Alon Alkalay, Senior Technology Law Advisor at EndCode, an artistic interpretation of the Model Guidelines by Tanya (T) Munyua of Obsidian Circus, and an endorsement and discussion session on the Model Guidelines.
According to Pria Chetty, Project Director Services, this is an ambitious and unique project - a ﬁrst of its kind in Africa. “We challenged ourselves to interpret privacy regulations into design principles that can be applied by online service providers to better protect children online. We need to do more than draft laws, we need to make sure we can apply the law in challenging situations, where the opportunity for change exists.”
Alon Alkalay, who was the project lead for developing the Model Guidelines added that the Model Guidelines speak to one of the most important topical areas of online safety. “The Guidelines are an example of the impact that lawyers can deliver to society. We’re hoping that these Guidelines inspire further guidelines by regulators, industry bodies, civil society and legal experts in other African countries.”
The Centre for Human Rights is proud to partner with EndCode for the launch event. According to Dr Elvis Fokala, the right of children to privacy, particularly during their interaction with technology and the internet, is central to the protection of their dignity and self-esteem. It also supports and reinforces other rights, such as the rights of a child to participate, freedom of expression, information, and association. Akin to other children's rights, any limitation or restriction to a child's right to privacy is only permissible if it is justified, prescribed by law, necessary to achieve a legitimate aim, in the best interest of the child.
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