The California Senate recently passed a well-intentioned law that provides new protections for minors using Internet.
While California SB 658 is extensive, starting on January 1, 2015, it will allow any minor to request that a digital service provider delete pictures of themselves. Which allows for any embarrassing or awkward photos to be scrubbed from any internet site— including social media platforms. Additionally, “The Los Angeles Times” mentions that the bill prohibits marketing certain products, including guns, bullets, dietary supplements and alcohol to minors, and bars the compiling of personal information provided by underage Internet users for marketing by third parties.
“Under this bill, websites in California will have to have the ability for the young teenager to remove that [posting] before it is distributed to a third person,” Steinberg said.
California SB 658 requires “the operator of an Internet Web site, online service, online application, or mobile application to permit a minor who is a registered user of the operator’s Internet Web site, online service, online application, or mobile application, to remove, or to request and obtain removal of, content or information posted”.
Proceed with Caution
This is no excuse for teens to go wild, the law has some loopholes. Any user can only delete their OWN content they’ve uploaded. An item posted by another person will continue to live in cyberspace. This is a strange loophole in the bill as almost all internet platforms let individuals delete the content they choose to post.
Additionally, if there is a photo with illegal activity and it is then deleted, law enforcement can still subpoena the information.
Perhaps most importantly, Tech Crunch points out that more and more of the social media world is automatically archived.
You’ve got to admire the senate for trying to protect minor’s privacy. The law has many good intentions and we’re eager to see when it goes into effect in 2015. What are your thoughts?