5Rights Foundation Newsletter: May 2024

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Maryland Governor Signs Age Appropriate Design Code into Law

Maryland on the 9th of May became the second US state to sign the Age Appropriate Design Code model into law, while on the 13th of May lawmakers in Vermont unanimously passed a Data Privacy Act that incorporates key provisions from the Vermont Kids Code. Building on California’s adoption of robust standards for age appropriate design in 2022, the Maryland and Vermont laws further reinforce the momentum towards tech accountability in the US, and progress towards an emerging global standard for the protection of children’s rights online.

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UK Children’s Safety Code must hold tech companies to account for addictive and risky design

Two weeks ago, 5Rights welcomed the publication of Ofcom’s draft Children’s Safety Code of Practice under the Online Safety Act. However, the draft Code’s complete lack of consideration for safety by design means that, without a serious review, it will fail to protect children and effectively implement new law. The next government must prioritise robust implementation of the Online Safety Act and put children’s safety and wellbeing at the centre of any proposed tech strategy.

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World 1st International AI treaty caters to children, but fails to agree mandatory rules for corporates

The Council of Europe has adopted an International Framework Convention on AI, with the support of states from the EU to the US and Japan. Thanks to engagement from 5Rights, the Treaty specifically recognises children’s rights as set out in the UNCRC General comment No. 25 and requires States to account for them. States, however, are left free to choose whether or not to apply the Convention’s requirements to private actors…

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EU Elections 2024: Time for implementation and enforcement of corporate responsibility for children

Having passed a Digital Services Act and an AI Act both with strong provisions for children, the outgoing EU legislators can be proud of their achievements in advancing children’s rights in the digital environment. The EU’s incoming leaders now have an even taller task: implementation, enforcement, and showing that regulation delivers practical change for young people. 5Rights sets out 4 priorities and 7 concrete deliverables for the next term.

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Impact of Regulation on Children’s Digital Lives - a new DFC report

Research from the joint 5Rights-LSE Digital Futures for Children centre reveals that legislation and regulation for children’s online privacy and safety are driving companies to make significant changes to their services. Now, regulation and its implementation must focus on ensuring the solutions companies are putting forward are effective in delivering on children’s rights.

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Research, Reports, and Findings

🗺️ “How Big Tech’s Soft Power Work Against Online Child Protection” Mie Oehlenschlager runs through how Big Tech continues to exert influence through subtle soft power devices on a global scale. DataEthics

🗺️ “Video games can have a positive impact on children – if they are designed right, says new study” New research shows child-centred video game design enhances the wellbeing and development of children. UNICEF

🗺️ “VOICE Report – Speaking Up For Change: Children’s and Caregivers’ Voices for Safer Online Experiences” explores the double-edged nature of the digital space, and the implications the latest risks and safety tools have on children’s rights.ECPAT International

🇺🇸 “Potential risks of content, features, and functions: The science of how social media affects youth” delves into the unique ways the youth experience social media, affirming the need for youth-centred design.American Psychological Association

Upcoming Events


The 5Rights Youth Ambassadors Programme is looking for new champions aged 13 to 22 years old. Whether they’re passionate about their rights in the digital world, want to learn more, or have ideas about what tech companies could do better, we want to hear it. Speak up and make change happen by becoming a Youth Ambassador today!

*️⃣ Tech Tantrums - when tech meets humanity
5th June 2024 18:30 to 20:00 (GMT)
- Old Theatre, Old Building, London, UK. Register

5Rights Chair and founder Baroness Beeban Kidron will deliver a public lecture setting out why the issues around AI must not be left to tech experts and unaccountable corporations. Hosted by the Digital Futures for Children (DFC) centre at the LSE, the hybrid event will be chaired by Professor Sonia Livingstone.

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