Calif. Passes Internet Eraser, Celeb Privacy Laws

Teens can now demand online content be scrubbed

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 25, 2013 12:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – New laws passed this week mean young people in California now have greater protection of their privacy—especially if they have famous parents. One law approved by Gov. Jerry Brown requires Internet companies to remove a minor's online activity or scrub their content if they request it, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Backers of the "eraser" law say it will give teenagers the ability to get rid of things such as embarrassing party pics that could haunt them into adulthood, but critics say the new law could have unintended consequences—and its makers don't seem to understand how the Internet works.

"The law doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, since nearly every imaginable service offers a delete button," notes Gregory Ferenstein at TechCrunch, predicting a "head-on collision between privacy law and the First Amendment" as soon as a minor seeks to use the law to erase content that somebody else has already shared. Under another law signed by Brown yesterday, attempting to photograph or videotape the child of a celebrity or public official in a harassing manner is now a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, reports the Los Angeles Times. Unsurprisingly, the bill had strong support from Hollywood, although it was opposed by broadcasters and newspapers.

Bye-bye, keg party pics.   (Shutterstock)
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Kids so often self-reveal before they self-reflect. Mistakes can stay with teens for life, and their digital footprint can follow them wherever they go. - James Steyer, founder
of Common Sense Media

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