Elizabeth Denham joins children’s online protection charity

As former UK information commissioner, Denham brings wide experience to 5Rights, including overseeing the introduction of the age-appropriate design code for online services

Elizabeth Denham has joined the board of 5Rights Foundation, the charity established to support and protect children online.

The former UK information commissioner has broad experience in the field, having overseen the introduction of the age-appropriate design code in 2020.

Containing 15 standards for online services – including apps, games, toys, and news services – the code has been credited with changing the way in which some of tech’s biggest names operate.

Google, for instance, made SafeSearch the default browsing mode for all users under 18, while Instagram and TikTok disabled direct messages between children and adults they do not follow.

“Introducing the age-appropriate design code was my proudest achievement at the Information Commissioner’s Office,” said Denham, as she took up her new role. “It is part of a new era of tech regulation where society is putting rules and accountability in place for the digital world.

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“Children’s rights and wellbeing should be at the heart of this sea-change – for far too long they have been left to fend for themselves in a world that is not designed for them,” she added. “I look forward to contributing to 5Rights’ pioneering work to deliver the digital world that young people deserve.”

Before heading the ICO, Denham was best known for high profile work in her native Canada, including leading an investigation into privacy on Facebook resulting in global changes to the site, and ensuring individuals’ data protection on Google Street View.

She joins 5Rights as variations on the age-appropriate design code are being considered and adopted around the world, in places including Ireland, California and Canada.

“Elizabeth’s appointment brings with it her deep knowledge of data privacy and experience of implementing data regulation,” said Baroness Beeban Kidron, founder and chair of 5Rights Foundation.

“5Rights is at the forefront of the demand to redesign the digital world to be more empowering, age appropriate, and safe for young people; Elizabeth will be an incredible asset in support of that change.”

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