The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) has eased the rules on whether brand owners can capture data from under 16s on third parties, following advice issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
CAP, which writes the rules governing UK advertising, has amended its Code of Practice to describe situations in which people aged 16 or under can be asked for information about others. Its rules had previously said that this was illegal.
But the ICO guidance, which was published last year, said that marketers should “assess the level of risk associated with asking a child to provide personal data about a third party. In some cases the risk is low because the information collected is relatively innocuous, for example where a child provides another person’s email address to transmit a newsletter and where the address isn’t retained or used for any other purpose”.
CAP said that it had changed the Code so that its rules matched the ICO’s. The rule now states: “Marketers must not knowingly collect personal information about other people from children under 16 unless that information is the minimum required to make a recommendation for a product, is not used for a significantly different purpose from that originally consented to, and the marketer can demonstrate that the collection of that information was suitable for the age group targeted.”
The organisation said the rule applies to all media in relation to all collection of data for marketing purposes, including in social media sites. It said that the change would take effect immediately.
Marketing to children has become one of key planks of Prime Minister David Cameron’s policies, after claims that youngsters are being exploited – and bombared with sexual imagery – by many b rand owners. However, the Advertising Association has already expressed fears that the review into the sexualisation of children threatens to be a one-sided argument.