ICE Briefly Becomes A Stranded Minor: Loses Its Twitter Account For Being Too Young
from the yeah,-but-only-briefly dept
Yesterday afternoon the Twitter account of the US’s Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) briefly disappeared from the internet. Was it… anti-conservative bias? Nope. Was it ICE doing more stupid shit in locking up children and separating them from their parents? Nope. Was it ICE’s willingness to seize domain names with no evidence, claiming “counterfeit”? Nope. It was that ICE had changed the “birthday” on its account to make it so that its “age” was less than 13. Thanks to the ridiculousness of the Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which has basically served only to have parents teach their kids it’s okay to lie online in order to use any internet service, most websites say you can’t use the service if you’re under 13 years old. ICE changed its “birthdate” to be less than 13, thereby making it… shall we say, something of a “stranded minor” and Twitter automatically, well, “separated it” from its account.
Might be nice for ICE to get a sense of how that feels.
Of course, what this really highlights is the idiocy of COPPA and how nearly every website tries to deal with its requirements. As we noted, Twitter, like many internet sites outright bars kids under 13 to avoid COPPA’s rules. Twitter does note in its forms that you need to put in your own date of birth, even if your account is “for your business, event, or even your cat.”
But… that’s bizarre. For accounts like this, whose birthday matters? Many such accounts are managed by multiple people. Whose birthday gets put in there? The answer is, of course, that a birthday is just made up. And, if you make it up, apparently you need to make up one that is older than 13 to avoid this COPPA-based “separation.”
Anyway, ICE figured stuff out and made a little joke about it:
Frankly, I’d rather they focused on actually helping asylum seekers find protection in our country rather than tossing them out, and maybe put some of that effort into reuniting the 666 kids back to the families they’ve lost track of.