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California kids can wipe their digital histories

Instant account wiping
Tue Sep 24 2013, 13:21

A LAW passed in California will protect young people from the social media misadventures of their youths.

The law, colloquially called the "eraser" law, was written by California state senate president pro tem Darrell Steinberg and has the backing of a group called Common Sense Media.

"Kids so often self-reveal before they self-reflect," said James Steyer, founder of Common Sense Media, to the SFGate website.

"Mistakes can stay with teens for life, and their digital footprint can follow them wherever they go."

The Eraser law, or SB 568, was signed by California governor Jerry Brown on Monday. It was listed on his calendar as relating to internet, minors and privacy.

Documents show that the bill will bring in rules after 1 January 2015 and will demand that web providers, app firms, and online services make it easy to remove, delete or anonymise content drawn from minors. It will also make advertising inappropriate services to minors illegal.

"The bill would prohibit an operator from knowingly using, disclosing, compiling, or allowing a [third] party to use, disclose, or compile, the personal information of a minor for the purpose of marketing or advertising specified types of products or services," it said.

"The bill would also make this prohibition applicable to an advertising service that is notified by an operator of an internet website, online service, online application, or mobile application that the site, service, or application is directed to a minor."

The law isn't backdated, meaning that older people who misspent their youths some time ago cannot expunge their histories, and any content about you that has been posted by a third party is out of your control.

"This is a groundbreaking protection for our kids who often act impetuously with postings of ill-advised pictures or messages before they think through the consequences. They deserve the right to remove this material that could haunt them for years to come," said Steinberg.

"At the same time, this bill will help keep minors from being bombarded with advertisements for harmful products that are illegal for them to use, like alcohol, tobacco and guns. I thank Governor Brown for recognizing that these common sense protections will help our children as they navigate the online world." µ


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