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