2 June 2022

Children’s Digital Rights & Data Privacy: What the UK Children’s Code Can Teach Us

Digital Child x ACMI Seminar Series

Children’s Digital Rights & Data Privacy: What the UK Children’s Code Can Teach Us

The introduction of the Children’s Code in the UK marks a critical turning point in protecting children’s digital rights and data privacy. The code of practice is the first of its kind and requires providers of online services that are likely to be accessed by children in the UK —such as apps, games, connected toys and devices and new services—to act in the ‘best interests’ of the child.

Also known as the Age Appropriate Design Code, the changes prohibit many providers of online services from using a number of design features that have become standard. For example, the Code prohibits ‘nudge’ techniques that encourage the sharing of personal data, prevents geolocational tracking by default, minimises the collection of personal data and offers children privacy options that default to maximum security. It also aims for greater transparency by providing privacy information to children in a form that is easy-to-understand.

But what does the Children’s Code mean in practice? How have tech companies responded to it? And what will it mean for children living outside the UK?

In this seminar, leading experts in children’s digital rights will discuss the practicalities of implementing the Children’s Code, including what it means for tech companies and children’s everyday digital experiences. Our panellists will compare the protections afforded to UK children under the Children’s Code with those afforded to Australian children under Australian law and will reflect on what lessons can be learnt from the UK experience.

In a joint collaboration between the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), this seminar will be hosted by Dr Anna Bunn (Senior Lecturer at Curtin University and Digital Child Associate Investigator), with panellists Sven Bluemmel (Victorian Information Commissioner), Emma Day (UK-based lawyer), Rys Farthing (Reset Australia) and Associate Professor Cathrine Neilsen-Hewett (Academic Director of the Early Years at University of Wollongong and Digital Child Associate Investigator).

Please join us in-person at ACMI Melbourne or online to find out more about what this ‘world-first’ law means for children in Australia and across the world.


Event Convener

Dr Luci Pangrazio
Senior Lecturer, Education (Language and Literacy Education) at Deakin University and Chief Investigator at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child.

Panel Chair

Dr Anna Bunn is a senior lecturer in Curtin University’s Law School, based in Perth, Australia, and an Associate Investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child. After practising as a solicitor in England and Wales, she lived in Indonesia where she established a non-profit organisation for vulnerable youth and worked as an educator and education manager. In 2008, she moved to Australia to take up a teaching and research position with Curtin Law School. Anna researches into privacy and children’s rights. She is interested in regulatory frameworks governing children’s online presence, as well as understanding norms around image sharing, young people’s online experiences, and the extent to which young people know how to seek redress for online harm.


Sven Bluemmel was appointed was appointed under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) (FOI Act) as the inaugural Victorian Information Commissioner in September 2017.

Prior to his current role, Mr Bluemmel served as Western Australian Information Commissioner for eight years. Before 2009, Mr Bluemmel held senior positions in the Western Australian Public Sector Commission, the Department of the Premier and Cabinet (WA) and the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department in Canberra. Mr Bluemmel previously practised law in the private sector in Melbourne and Perth in the areas of information and privacy law.

Mr Bluemmel is a regular contributor to Australian and international publications, particularly in the areas of information law, technology law and administrative law. He has also delivered guest lectures at various institutions including Monash University, the Australian National University, the University of Western Australia, Murdoch University, Edith Cowan University and the University of Canberra. Mr Bluemmel is a fellow of Leadership Western Australia and served as President of the Institute of Public Administration in Western Australia for three years from November 2014 until October 2017.

Mr Bluemmel holds a Bachelor of Laws with Honours and a Bachelor of Science, both from the Australian National University.

Emma Day is a human rights lawyer, specialising in children’s rights and technology. She holds an LLM in international human rights law from the University of London (2010) and a second LLM in law and technology from UC Berkeley where she was a Fulbright scholar in 2019-2020. She qualified as a lawyer in Canada in 2010. Emma has been working on human rights issues for more than twenty years and has lived for five years in Eastern Africa and six years in Southeast Asia. She is currently based in Portugal where she works as a consultant for UNICEF and various non-profits and businesses, focusing on child online protection, and data governance for children. Emma is a non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council Digital Forensics Research Lab.

Dr Rys Farthing is the Director of Data Policy at Reset Australia where she has led on the campaign for a Children’s Code in Australia. She works on realising children and young people’s rights in the digital world through policy and regulation. She has worked as an academic, not-for-profits and at think tanks based in Australia, the UK and US, including 5Rights Foundation and Fairplay.

Associate Professor Cathrine Neilsen-Hewett is the Academic Director of the Early Years, University of Wollongong. She has demonstrated leadership and scholarship in translational research with a strong track record in supporting professional development initiatives across the early childhood education sector. She has co-led six large-scale Early Start research projects across 3 Australian states, in over 450 ECEC services, with more than 3500 children. Her current research projects focus on children’s self-regulation and wellbeing, quality early childhood environments and workforce development (including links between digital technologies and educator practice), integrated early childhood service platforms, and approaches to early childhood assessment.

As part of this seminar, Professor Julian Sefton-Green and Dr Luci Pangrazio will also be launching their new book, Learning to Live with Datafication: Educational Case Studies and Initiatives from Across the World.

Learning to Live with Datafication is unique in its focus on educational responses to datafication as well as critical analysis. Through case studies grounded in empirical research and practice, the book explores the dimensions of datafication from diverse perspectives that bring in a range of cultural aspects. It examines how educators conceptualise the social implications of datafication and what is at stake for learners and citizens as educational institutions try to define what datafication will mean for the next generation.

Written by international leaders in this emerging field, this book will be of interest to teacher educators, researchers and post graduate students in education who have an interest in datafication and data literacies.