California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Thursday to protect children’s data, Online Privacy Law For Kids.
The California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act (AB 2273) compels internet platforms to consider “children’s best interests” and default to privacy and safety settings that protect their mental and physical health.
Initiated by Assembly members Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) and Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo), the law prohibited online providers likely accessed by children from using young people’s personal information, collecting, selling, or retaining geolocations, profiling by default, and leading or encouraging kids to provide personal information.
Newsom added, “We’re taking tough action in California to preserve our kids’ health and wellness” (Opens in a new window). “As a father of four, I know the actual difficulties our kids face online, and I’m thankful to Assembly members Wicks and Cunningham and the tech industry for promoting these protections.”
The bill mandates digital businesses to make privacy information, terms of service, rules, and community standards widely accessible and to provide tools to assist youngsters “exercise their privacy rights.” The Children’s Data Protection Working Group will report on best practises by 2024.
The Law Would…
If enacted, California firms that provide online services or products likely to be accessible by youngsters under 18 would have to give additional privacy protections by default in July 2024. The bill:
Require corporations to analyse potential harm in how they utilise kids’ data in new services or features, then devise a plan to limit the risk.
Prohibit firms from exploiting kids’ information in a way that is “materially damaging” to their well-being, such showing them slender supermodels when they look for weight loss tips.
Companies can’t collect, sell, share, or keep a child’s personal information unless it’s needed to deliver the service.
Ban corporations from collecting, selling, or sharing kids’ precise location data by default, unless it’s really necessary for the service.
If the company permits parents or adults to track youngsters online, the product must let them know.
If some of these requirements sound imprecise, the law established a working group to provide suggestions to the Legislature.
The state attorney general would enforce the bill, and intentional infractions may result in $7,500 per child.
Karla Garcia, a mom of an 11-year-old in Palms, west Los Angeles, favours the idea because she expects it will rein in YouTube’s algorithms. Her son’s AGT binges keep him from doing his homework, she said. “Every night, my child and I argue.”
Garcia: “I want him to be independent, but this is stronger.”
Who Can Play?
California Chamber of Commerce, Entertainment Software Association, and TechNet opposed the bill. TechNet includes Amazon, Google, Uber, and Meta (previously Facebook). The groups said the bill would cover too many sites.
“We need a federal privacy bill that incorporates common standards to protect kids online, not a patchwork of state regulations,” said Dylan Hoffman, TechNet’s executive director for California and the Southwest.
The groups lobbied to decrease the definition of a kid from 18 to 13, as per federal law. Hoffman said they pushed for 16, a California privacy law requirement. Business groups’ push failed.
Baroness Beeban Kidron, a member of the U.K.’s House of Lords, spearheaded the drive to enact the U.K. law and created 5Rights Foundation, which sponsored the California measure. Kidron: “A 13-year-old can’t make adult decisions.”
Next Step :
First, Newsom will sign or veto the bill. If he signs it, most requirements won’t take effect until 2024.
Companies must instantly identify and mitigate threats to children, said 5Rights Foundation’s Nichole Rocha. If the measure passes, firms could implement modifications before 2024.
What if corporations refuse? Would a lawsuit from California’s attorney general motivate them?
Buffy Wicks, a Democrat from Oakland and the bill’s author, said she will follow it closely. She stated the legislature might enact another bill to refine law enforcement. What’s the use of making policies if they’re not adopted and enforced?