California is one step closer to passing an internet privacy law that aims to make the internet safer for children.
The California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act was unanimously passed by the state senate on Monday. The bill now goes to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk for final approval.
If the bill is signed, it would go into effect in 2024.
If signed into law, online accounts belonging to underage users would be required to default to the highest level of privacy protection.
The current version of the bill says the “limitation is needed to encourage businesses, by protecting their proprietary interests, to mitigate risks to children online.” To date, Congress has not passed a national online privacy code.
Jim Steyer, the founder and CEO of Common Sense Media, said in a statement that the bill is a “monumental step toward protecting California kids online.”
“The action…sends an important signal about the need to make children’s online health and safety a greater priority for lawmakers and for our tech companies, particularly when it comes to websites that are accessed by young users.”
Steyer went on to say that the bill is “only part of the change” needed and called for additional online privacy measures.
“AB 2273, however, is only part of the change we need to better protect young people from the manipulative and dangerous practices online platforms employ today. Modernizing internet safety standards cannot continue to be an afterthought. California legislators, and lawmakers around the country, need to follow up on this important development by enacting additional online privacy and platform accountability measures. Common Sense looks forward to continuing our work with legislators next year to expand the meaningful progress just made on behalf of children and families across the state.”
Online privacy rules have recently been the subject of much debate around the world.
Earlier in the year, NewsBusters reported that Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen downplayed censorship concerns regarding new online privacy laws and said the U.S. should adopt the rules required under Europe’s “Digital Services Act.”
“It is a broad and comprehensive set of rules and standards, not unlike food safety standards for cleanliness and allergen labeling,” she said at the time. “But what is also remarkable about it is that it focuses on oversight of the design and implementation of systems (like how algorithms behave) rather than determining what is good or bad speech.”
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