California’s governor just signed into law a bill that required all websites to provide a button for minors to delete their own posted content. (H/T Gizmodo) This would include posts on social media sites such as Facebook. I guess the idea here is to let kids delete potentially embarrassing posts before they get bullied by other kids.
This is probably the stupidest idea I have heard from a while coming from government, and that is a high bar to clear. Here are my initial objections right off the bat.
- What if the website isn’t hosted in California? How is it subject to California laws?
- If a website doesn’t implement this, how do you enforce it? Do you block it from California IP addresses? What about the adult users? How do you filter for California IP addresses being currently used by minors? It’s impossible.
- How do you even know if the user is a minor?
- How do you know they are viewing the website from California? (VPNs can block that info)
- What if someone takes a screenshot of the data to preserve it?
- What if someone quotes what you said in their own post?
- If someone moves away from California, do they no longer get to delete their posts?
- As the original article states, the law does not require the data to actually be deleted off the servers, just not be shown anymore.
What I would prefer doing is to teach kids that their actions online have consequences. I mean, the government already gets these children in school for hours every day. Can’t they teach this? Of course that would require a huge new school program worth billions of dollars with a snappy acronym like the Child Remove All Posts act or CRAP.
On second thought, let’s just stick with this new law and call it good. 🙂