Proposed California Bill Would Require Sites To Hand Over Private Info On Kids To Their Parents

from the no,-that-won't-backfire-at-all... dept

It really is stunning how rarely it appears that politicians who introduce bills "for the children" think through the obvious consequences of those bills. For years, we've discussed how COPPA, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, has had massive unintended consequences, mainly cutting off lots of useful sites from any kids under the age of 13. It's also led to parents encouraging their kids to lie about their age, when they realize that all their friends are on sites like Facebook. Also, many people point out that COPPA is really an attack on kid's free speech rights. California has passed its own Online Privacy Protection Act that goes a bit further, but apparently, at least one California politician wants to take things even further, and is doing so with a plan that seems incredibly poorly thought out.

California Assemblywoman Nora Campos proposed a bill a few weeks ago, AB 319, that would expand things so much that any sites that collect any information about anyone under the age of 18 would be required under law to reveal that personal information to parents if requested.

Now, think about that for a second. Since this is for any kids up to 18, we're talking about most of the teenage years for most kids. These are the years in which many teens rebel against their parents, which is, in many ways, a natural part of growing up and becoming an independent adult. To think that parents should be able to find out information directly from various sites about their kids' use of those sites seems incredibly problematic. There may be sites where the teens have tried to keep information private from their parents. And maybe that's because, say, the parents are anti-gay, and the child is gay. Do we really want parents to have easy access to that material? Or... what if it's a site for abused kids, and they are signing up to get help and to report that abuse? Under this law, it would appear that parents can check up on their kids on those sites.

What this bill would mean is that, in California, minors can get an abortion without parental notification, but they can't use Facebook. Also, under California law, teenagers may be emancipated as of age 14. But their parents can still spy on their online activities?

Oh yeah, and the parents can order those sites to no longer allow their children to use the sites any more. For troubled kids, seeking to connect with others who can help them at the point when they're struggling the most with their parents, it would seem like a situation that could have disastrous consequences.
An operator shall provide to a parent whose minor dependent has provided personal information to an Internet Web site or online service, upon request of the parent and proper identification, a description of the specific types of personal information collected from the minor by the operator, the opportunity at any time to refuse to permit the operator’s further use or maintenance in retrievable form, or future online collection, of personal information from the minor, and a means that is reasonable under the circumstances for the parent to obtain personal information collected from the minor.
I'm sure Campos is thinking that this is one of those "protect the children" bills that makes for nice headlines. But shouldn't someone actually think about the actual impact of these bills before they get introduced?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 9:50am

    I'm trying to think of a single positive thing that has happened in society in the last several decades because of laws with the aim of "protecting children". I'm sure there's something, but gosh if I'm not coming up dry.

     

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    Jeff (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 9:56am

    so how does a site know if a requester is even the parent?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 10:00am

    May contain Sarcasm

    Because you'll have to provide DNA samples, alongside your credit card number, SSN, Driver's license/Passport, semen sample and your sexual proclivities, which will be matched with an extensive NSA database specially prepared for such a task. OH, and if you're against this law, you must clearly be a terrorNazi PedoJew.

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 10:06am

    More bullshit expecting everyone but parents to take responsibility for raising children. This nanny state bollocks needs to stop, both in the US and the UK.

     

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    Zos (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 10:09am

    meh. i'd be worried about the impact and implications if it weren't immediately obvious that, as usual, this asshole has no idea how computers or the internet works.

     

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    DannyB (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 10:12am

    who needs free speech

    Out of the blue just hates it when children have free speech.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 10:15am

    This is dangerous for kids seeking help to deal with violent parents for instance and trouble for EVERY SINGLE politically engaged student out there. Just think about it for a small moment.

    In Brazil while we were under a dictatorship previous to 1980something there were continuous raids on university grounds and dormitories where resistance used to build up. Imagine with that freaking law.....

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 10:15am

    As usual, Mike against it because restricts corporations.

    Reads to me as not restricting the "rights" of minors to "rebel" but of limiting corporations from for-profit grifting: "a description of the specific types of personal information collected from the minor by the operator, the opportunity at any time to refuse to permit the operatorís further use or maintenance in retrievable form, or future online collection". -- Now, if taken as restricting corporations, doesn't that fit with Mike's pro-corporate stance?

    BTW: requirement of emancipation is "the minor is employed and has a legal way to make money." -- HA! How many kids is that today? It's a holdover from long ago. Nowadays kids expect to be emancipated AND still supported by parents in luxury.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 10:16am

    one way or another, those that are supposed to be protecting the interests of 'the people', regardless of age, are doing the exact opposite. the intentions may be for the best but why try to do something without thinking about the consequences, unintended or otherwise, first? these people are supposed to have a reasonable amount of intelligence, not the brains of a rocking horse!

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 10:17am

    Re: who needs free speech @"DannyB": see my take on it, dolt.

    DannyB just hates it when he can't lie about what others believe.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 10:26am

    One unintended consequence will be children finding someone to give them Internet access, which I am sure that paedophiles will use to their advantage.

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 10:28am

    Re:

    No longer will a bag of sweets or a lost puppy be the lure. Children will be lured to danger by the promise of free Internet access.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 10:33am

    Correct me if I'm wrong

    ...but it appears that Mike is misreading the text of the proposed bill regarding the requests parents may make (emphasis mine):
    An operator shall provide ... the opportunity at any time to refuse to permit the operatorís further use or maintenance in retrievable form, or future online collection, of personal information from the minor

    This section does not refer to a parent's ability to force the site to block access to the child, but instead to the parent's ability to force the site to stop collecting, storing, and/or using the child's personal information. The other concerns raised in the article are certainly troubling (another day, another attack on anonymity "for the children"), but this one appears to have been raised by simple misinterpretation.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 10:37am

    Re: As usual, Mike against it because restricts corporations.

    Read my comment above. You missed the point completely. Only those who have those kinds of issues in their past can see what this may lead too. Let parents do the parenting. Not the Government.

    How many kids is that today?

    How many kids we keep treating like kids and can't do that because we do things "for the children"??


    Also, you should choose. Either Mike is pro corporations or he is against them because he wants them to sell for free. Your stupidity is showing.

     

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    Atkray (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 10:38am

    Re: As usual, Mike against it because restricts corporations.

    I'm going to guess that the age 14 emancipation requirement has to do with Hollywood and the large amount of actors under age 18 that end up getting taken advantage of by their parents more than a holdover form long ago.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 10:40am

    Re: As usual, Mike against it because restricts corporations.

    Reads to me as not restricting the "rights" of minors to "rebel" but of limiting corporations from for-profit grifting


    It can be both.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 10:48am

    Re: Correct me if I'm wrong

    Still, how will they do it if the sites store data the child feeds them? Solution: block access to the child.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 10:51am

    Re: Correct me if I'm wrong

    For any site that requires a login, this is a ban. Except of course children will use a false name, and possibly look for someone outside the family to give them Internet access.

     

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    Christopher Smith (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 10:56am

    Not sure whence the outrage

    While I'm usually in agreement with both Mike's analyses and critical of most think-of-the-children measures, I fail to see how it's outrageous for parents or guardians to have the authority to access their minor children's online accounts. They have legal responsibility for their children, and they already have analogous authority to read their diaries, listen in on their phone calls, and monitor their computer usage from the client end. In the cases of actual mistreatment, as noted in the article, children can be legally emancipated, and parental rights are terminated.

     

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    Liz (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 10:58am

    Re: May contain Sarcasm

    That or a post-it note. Post-it notes seem to be a legit form.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 11:04am

    Re: Re: who needs free speech @"DannyB": see my take on it, dolt.

    Okay, this better get the number one spot in the 'Funniest posts' list, haven't read something so hilarious in ages.

     

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    ChrisB (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 11:10am

    Re: Not sure whence the outrage

    > monitor their computer usage from the client end

    This is the solution, not some bureaucratic nightmare. We had our computer upstairs and I put a key-logger on it. Done.

     

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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 11:30am

    Re: May contain Sarcasm

    As it turns out it was hard to tell whether that was sarcasm or prophecy...

    Not likely to see you in a robe shouting, "The end of the world is nigh!", are we? You're likely to be closer with what you suggested than Nostradamus was...

     

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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 11:32am

    Re:

    i'd be worried about the impact and implications if it weren't immediately obvious that, as usual, this asshole has no idea how computers or the internet works.
    And that's stopped stupid ideas based on such a lack of understanding becoming laws...... what percentage of occasions would you say? I'm not sure that clears up the worry for me.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 11:39am

    Re:

    I live in this shithole (read country) and this "dictatorship" still exists, except it is not blatantly in front of your eyes.

    We just changed from right to left.
    And IMO, things are worse now. I bet a lot more people died at the hand of criminals which our failed country and laws seek to protect in these last years than the number of people that died during the whole time you are referring to.

    At least people could walk in the street without fear of getting robbed, raped and killed over 5 bucks...
    Only thing that would get you killed on the street was to say loud and clear "GOVERNMENT SUCKS!".
    I have to say i miss those times, compared to the bullshit i see nowadays.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 11:39am

    Awesome, time for estranged and abusive parents to track their kids down online and fuck around with their lives. Nice job protecting the children, Campos.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 11:51am

    I have to say this guy is stupid.

    No half-decent parent needs laws to monitor their kid's web.

    In the kids house, you may have Keyloggers, restrictive firewalls, Connection monitors, Activity logs and lots of other monitoring software. Sure, your kid may be smart enough to crack a few of them, but then you just need to adapt...
    If you do your job correctly, you will be able to gather information you want.

    outside of the house there is nothing you can do because it is easy to remain anonymous in the internet.

     

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    Kevin L Shumaker, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 11:56am

    Dependent Minor

    It seems to me that the clause "whose minor dependent" in the start of the bill would rule out spying on emancipated teens, right? Aren't they by definition no longer dependent?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 12:05pm

    >"Oh yeah, and the parents can order those sites to no longer allow their children to use the sites any more. For troubled kids, seeking to connect with others who can help them at the point when they're struggling the most with their parents, it would seem like a situation that could have disastrous consequences."

    As someone who grew up before the internet absorbed the full attention of all the country's youth, I'm offended by the notion that cutting them back off from it is a bad thing.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 12:29pm

    Re: Dependent Minor

    Except think about how this is practically going to work. Site gets a notice from a kid's parent. Site has to comply or risk facing legal action. Burden of proof is now on the kid to prove that he's emancipated, or the parent in question is abusive, estranged, divorced from the parent he's living with, etc., and in the time it takes for him to prove that, the parent has now screwed up his access to the site in question.

     

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  31.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 12:32pm

    how many retards does it take to run a country into the ground ? ? ?

    let me get out my abacus:
    1 president
    9 el supremos
    100 + 435 kongresskritters
    plus the state legislatures of every state...
    if we got rid of those retards, could we get some real work done in fixing this ball-o-mud ? ? ?
    (the answer is 'yes', by the way...)

    just read another in a series of unending idiotic stories today, where a kid got pulled out of school and punished 'cause he chewed his poptart into the rough shape of a gun... *AND* they sent a note home with all the other precious snowflakes warning the parents about if the snowflakes were traumatized by the poptart 'gun'...

    world gone crazy...

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

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  32.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 12:38pm

    Re:

    As someone who grew up before the internet absorbed the full attention of all the country's youth, I'm offended by the notion that cutting them back off from it is a bad thing.

    The internet is communication and socialization with others. Did your parents have the power to completely prevent you from talking with your friends? Did your parents have the ability to monitor nearly everything you did and said to them?

    As someone who grew up just as this internet thing was catching on, who was shy and somewhat of an outcast in high school, and found good lifelong friends online when I had few to relate to me in "real life", I am horrified that you cannot see how this can be a very bad thing to some children that may need the ability to socialize with others that understand them the most.

     

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  33.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 12:39pm

    Re: "protecting children"

    The Amber Alert system...

    NOTE: The Amber Alert system did not start with ANY lawmaking body.
    "The AMBER Alert System began in 1996 when Dallas-Fort Worth broadcasters teamed with local police to develop an early warning system to help find abducted children. AMBER stands for America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response and was created as a legacy to 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped while riding her bicycle in Arlington, TX, and then brutally murdered. Other states and communities soon set up their own AMBER plans as the idea was adopted across the nation."

    From: http://www.amberalert.gov/about.htm

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 12:46pm

    Re:

    As someone who grew up before the television absorbed the full attention of all the country's youth, I'm offended by the notion that cutting them back off from it is a bad thing.

    As someone who grew up before home music absorbed the full attention of all the country's youth, I'm offended by the notion that cutting them back off from it is a bad thing.

    As someone who grew up before movies absorbed the full attention of all the country's youth, I'm offended by the notion that cutting them back off from it is a bad thing.

    As someone who grew up before fictional novels absorbed the full attention of all the country's youth, I'm offended by the notion that cutting them back off from it is a bad thing.

    And so on.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 12:46pm

    I'm sure Campos is thinking that this is one of those "protect the children" bills that makes for nice headlines. But shouldn't someone actually think about the actual impact of these bills before they get introduced?

    If the children were actually protected efficiently, there wouldn't be any more headlines about new laws to protect them, would there? Gotta keep getting your name out there if you want to get reelected. So what if a few hundred kids' lives are ruined in the process? Can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 12:51pm

    Re:

    For the younger kids, supervise their Internet use by keeping the computers in a family room, not their bedrooms.

     

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    PRMan, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 12:53pm

    Re: Re: "protecting children"

    80% of the time, Amber Alerts are triggered on (often innocent) parents. Of the 20%, they could only find 90 out of 252,000 where it was successfully used for the original purpose.

    http://www.psmag.com/culture/amber-alerts-largely-ineffective-study-shows-4792/

    So, it's used more often as a weapon by divorced mothers against their ex-husbands than it is for its original purpose.

     

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    kenichi tanaka, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 12:55pm

    I'm not afraid to admit this but ever since I brought my site online back in 2004, and my community has grown quite large, one of the first thigns I did was to ban anyone under the age of 13 from registering on my site. Anyone caught doing so, which is also listed in my site's "terms of service" agreement, is in violation of that policy and that nobody associated with my site can be held liable for such violations.

    COPPA, while it was a great idea, has had chilling effects on website owners as they've effectively banned anyone under 13 from becoming a member. Those who lie about their age are effectively circumventing the rules, policies and terms of service agreements listed on those sites.

    It's because governments create these laws and that they are so broad that website owners have been forced to protect themselves any liability.

     

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    Abara, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 1:35pm

    Children Rapture Incoming

    Suddenly, all the kids in California will disapear from the internet.

     

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    gorehound (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 2:19pm

    The only thing I want to say is I really Hate This Government.And at this point I would love to see the Politicians get exactly what is coming to them.

     

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    nasch (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 3:12pm

    Re: Re: May contain Sarcasm

    As it turns out it was hard to tell whether that was sarcasm or prophecy...

    It's a reference to this: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/01/fbi-replaced-legal-process-post-it-notes-obtain-ph

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 3:53pm

    "But shouldn't someone actually think about the actual impact of these bills before they get introduced?"

    No.. because that would require even more effort.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 4:42pm

    Also, under California law, teenagers may be emancipated as of age 14. But their parents can still spy on their online activities?

    Of course not. Emancipation would apply to all parental powers.

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 8:58pm

    So let me get this correct, and this is from a legal perspective having knowledge about minors within America
    1. A parent/guardian has no ability or right whatsoever to force a minor to answer any question about anything to either themselves or an authority (be they their child/student/ward/etc).

    2. A parent/guardian has no ability or right whatsoever to consent to any search of a minor in their responsibility (be they their child/student/ward/etc).

    3. If a minor has genuine control over a space, be that a virtual space (cyber locker, passworded account, etc) or physical space (bedroom - as long as no adults are allowed within the bedroom without the minors explicit permission)No parent/guardian can search themselves or allow another authority to search. [Why teens should negotiate with parents and place a signed privacy notice on LOCKED door]

    So with the above legal conditions a state is now wanting to destroy these inherent rights of minors within the USA.

    Yeah that's going to Not cause any backlash or problems /sarc

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 9:02pm

    Re: Not sure whence the outrage

    read their diaries NO they don't unless it's somehow a 'family diary'. Read below comment on legality of searching for parents.

     

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    btrussell (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 11:09pm

    Re:

    So we want parents to take responsibility, but do not want to allow them to know what is going on?

    This is the opposite of nanny state. This is giving power to parents, not the government. The government isn't saying parents have to do so, just enabling them to do so.

    It would be nice to be able to go to the corner store and be able to ask the proprietor whether or not your child was buying cigarettes, not so you could prosecute the proprietor, but so you can be involved in correcting the bad behavior/choices of your child. Your child isn't smoking themselves, just buying them for other children who can't get them so they can make some money.



    "There may be sites where the teens have tried to keep information private from their parents. And maybe that's because, say, the parents are anti-gay, and the child is gay."

    How about we educate these few parents instead of keeping the rest of them castrated?

     

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    btrussell (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 11:20pm

    Re: Re: As usual, Mike against it because restricts corporations.

    "Let parents do the parenting. Not the Government."

    Isn't that what this bill is about?

    "... reveal that personal information to parents if requested."

    I need sleep as I seem to be reading everything backwards.

    Good night and enjoy the week-end!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 8th, 2013 @ 12:56am

    Re: Re:

    How about we educate these few parents instead of keeping the rest of them castrated?

    Education does not always change a persons beliefs, which is why extreme fundamental religious views are so dangerous. This is why some kids do need to be able to communicate with others without their parents knowing.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Mar 8th, 2013 @ 2:01am

    Re: Re: Re: As usual, Mike against it because restricts corporations.

    Do we really need it enacted into law allowing possible abuses? Or can they do that without a nanny Govt interfering?

     

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    Niall (profile), Mar 8th, 2013 @ 2:52am

    Re: Re:

    There is also the over-broadness of the age limit - knowing what your 8- or 12-year-old is doing is quite different than spying on your 17-year-old. There are so many ways this could be abused - when so many laws are tying to supposedly 'protect' children - that without decent safeguards this could really cause a lot more problems than it solves.

     

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    Niall (profile), Mar 8th, 2013 @ 4:31am

    Re: Children Rapture Incoming

    Then watch out for them becoming aggrieved voters in the next few years...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 8th, 2013 @ 6:20pm

    Re:

    How about the various laws about child labor, and missing children?

     

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    timmaguire42 (profile), Mar 9th, 2013 @ 9:30am

    The objections raised seem to me a bit of nibbling about the edges. A vast majority of children do not fall within these objections. Fine, you've identified some potential tweaks, but as an attack on the bill, it is weak tea indeed. This isn't protect the children, it's defend parental rights.

    The cries of "nanny state" are laughable silliness, this the the opposite of nanny state.

     

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    btrussell (profile), Mar 11th, 2013 @ 3:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: As usual, Mike against it because restricts corporations.

    If they can already do it, can't it already be abused?

     

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    Zos (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 8:31pm

    Re: Re:

    this is one of those "route around" kind of bullshits. legislating it will only force people to come just that teensy bit savvier needed to defeat whatever half assed plan is brought about, assuming it's not recognized as impossible to do at some point, taken out and shot.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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