If the Mind Of My Own inbox is anything to go by, preparations for the GDPR are hotting up everywhere. We are just about ready to start coding some of our planned changes into the apps, but this has taken months of discussion and debate as we have pondered how best to improve our processes for protecting privacy, while at the same time not wanting to make the experience of using Mind Of My Own apps at all onerous or off-putting.
In basing our processing of data on GDPR-compliant consent we aim to give users genuine choice and control over how we use their data and in so doing we ensure our organisation is transparent and accountable. Mind Of My Own will put people at the centre of the relationship and will build confidence and trust. Viewed in this way GDPR compliance is a great opportunity for us to enhance and reinforce the very reasons for Mind Of My Own’s existence.
The latest communication from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) confirms that the UK government has decided to put the lower age for giving consent to 13. While this is good news for those of us who worried it would be set at the higher age of 16, it does still pose a problem and it is one we have shared with other providers of digital services to children and young people in recent weeks.
Mind Of My Own apps are designed to give children and young people a voice. In many cases the information they send via Mind Of My Own to their worker or trusted adult is important but not overly concerning. In a significant minority of cases however, children and young people use Mind Of My Own to raise serious concerns or to report very worrying situations in which they do not feel safe. Some of these reports come from younger children and we are determined that there must be no impediment to those children being able to use Mind Of My Own as their safe and confidential communication tool.
Our deliberations continue therefore as we seek to find the best way to enable all children to feel able to use Mind Of My Own without impediment, while simultaneously wishing to protect their privacy and online safety in helpful and appropriate ways. The new Mind Of My Own privacy policies and statements will be available in advance of the GDPR deadline of 25 May 2018 and will give a comprehensive description of our compliance with the new regulation.
We have found it immensely helpful to discuss and debate these issues both with local authority staff and with other providers of digital services to children, most recently with colleagues from Action for Children and Barnardo’s. In the coming Easter holidays we will also be discussing and co-designing with young Mind Of My Own users. Big thanks again to the people who joined our round table event last November, which resulted in this article in the Guardian and in this short video. If you would like to contribute to the discussion, or if you think we may be able to answer your questions (we’ll do our best!) please do get in touch.