Influencers Starting To Realize How The Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) Will Do Real Damage

from the speak-up-now dept

We’ve talked a lot about just how bad the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) is. Yet some people (including people who, frankly, should know better) keep trying to tell me how well meaning it is. It’s not. It’s dangerous. But it has real momentum. A massive bipartisan group of Senators are co-sponsors of the bill.

And, no matter how many times we explain that KOSA (in the name of “protecting the children”) will put kids at risk, politicians still want to pretend it’s fine. Hell, the Heritage Foundation even flat out admitted that they planned to use KOSA to censor LGBTQ+ content, in an attempt to bar children from such content. It remains incredible to me that any Democrat could support a bill when Republicans admit up front how they plan to abuse it.

But, of course, because it’s called the “Kids Online Safety Act” and you have brands like Dove (yeah, I don’t get it either) running a whole campaign in support of it, even convincing Lizzo that the bill is good, it feels like the anti-KOSA voices have been muted.

Hopefully that’s changing. A friend pointed me to a TikTok influencer, pearlmania500 (aka Alex Pearlman), with about two million followers, who has posted a fun little anti-KOSA rant, pointing out just how dangerous KOSA is.

A quick transcript of his righteous rant:

40 Senators have sponsored a bill to make sure you have to upload your driver’s license before you can use your First Amendment on the internet. That’s what they want. That’s what this bill is.

This bill is designed to make sure that they have your home address before you can actually post about ANYTHING on the internet.

The bill is Senate bill 1409. 40 Senators have sponsored it. Republicans and Democrats. This isn’t a left or right issue. This is a speech issue. And they call the bill “the Kids Online Safety Act.” Or KOSA for short.

But in reality, this is some garbage to make sure they know where you live when you post. This bill, they claim is to protect kids from restricted material on the internet, but what it’s gonna do is restrict the internet for everybody and then make you prove you’re over 18 before you can look at anything.

So maybe there’s some history of America that’s a little bit dicey, right? Maybe you want to learn a little more about the Second Amendment. Maybe there’s some controversial stuff out there. Well this bill, allows every Attorney General in every state of the union to make sure that they can sue internet companies. Like TikTok. Like Facebook. Like Twitter. That they can sue them if they aren’t making sure that everybody who looks at controversial topics are over 18.

So, all these companies are going to have to keep a database of all their users, to prove that everyone looking at all these controversial topics are over 18. So how are they gonna do that?!? They’re gonna collect your driver’s license. The bill doesn’t tell them. But the bill does make it very clear that all of these companies are going to have to prove that their users are over 18. The only way to do that is to have you upload information that proves you’re an adult before you’re allowed to touch the rest of the web.

So, if you want to make sure you have unrestricted internet… I’m not just talking about… listen, I’m not even talking about the spicy stuff… I’m talking about if you wanted to go find out gun safety information. If you wanted to find out medication information. If you wanted to find out some history that they don’t want to teach you in schools, this bill will allow Attorney Generals to sue all of these companies under the guise of “protecting kids.”

Senate bill 1409.

And it is bipartisan. My Senator. Senator Bob Casey. A Democrat. Is cosponsoring this bill. With Lindsey Graham. And Marsha Blackburn. And Dick Durbin. It’s all over the place people. They’re ALL OUT TO MAKE SURE that they can trace YOUR SHITTY POSTS on Twitter and on Facebook, back down to your home address.

And they’re doing it claiming they’re protecting the kids.

So call your Senators. Does not matter where you live. Call your fucking Senator and say “I do not want Senate bill 1409 to ever be touched or passed.”

Now, you might say that this is just one random, if well followed, TikTok influencer, but he appears to have some big fans in government. In recent months he was invited to the White House and to an event put on by Pennsylvania’s governor. He’s definitely involved in politics, and it’s good to see him speaking up about this terrible bill.

I’m still perplexed at how much support it has, but if the internet starts speaking up about how dangerous this is, maybe that will finally kill its momentum.

Filed Under: , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Influencers Starting To Realize How The Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) Will Do Real Damage”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

Yeah great move when it comes to the ignorant and/or authoritarians who think the government should be eliminating anonymity and privacy online, not so great for anyone who doesn’t fall into one or both of those categories.

To be sure they do have the benefit of ‘As bad as the democrat option is it’s still better than the alternative’ and it’s not like republicans have been shining beacons lately when it comes to the government keeping it’s hands off of online platforms but moves like this are certainly not likely to help when it comes to voting day.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Violet Aubergine (profile) says:

Children have parents or guardians, they don’t need the government to do this, they need their parents to do this. Otherwise you have AG in various states determining what kids can see as opposed to their parents. Somebody needs to point out to Republicans over and over again that this means AG in blue states can use this law to force companies to censor conservative viewpoints because they’re controversial.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: When someone's trying to shank you make them work for it

SOPA was basically a done deal, just waiting for the ink to dry before enough people protested and got it shot down so even if he did faceplant by showing his support for the bill that doesn’t mean that it’s a given that it will pass.

When someone’s trying to screw you over you’ve got two options: Push back and you might lose, or give up and ensure you do.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Targets on EVERY site owner's back

Never mind influencers, someone really needs to point to all the site owners that under this law they’ll be all but required to collect highly personal data on all their users, something which will not only drive off a huge chunk of their users but will make every last one of them extremely tempting to hackers to target to get that data.

Anonymous Coward says:

This Supreme Court decision tells us what this is all about.
McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission 514 U.S. 334

Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.

It is actually an intolerant government exercising thought control. They already do it with the provider with SEC and anti-trust initiatives.

Now, for the user, the government would like to know where to send the IRS auditor. We have an increasingly authoritarian government and it’s coming from both political parties, because a two choice proposition is a false choice.

K Smith (profile) says:

No need to worry!

There is no way that a bill this bad bill will pass.

Sure, the Republicans (aka. the bad side) who dominate House will likely be able to pass it, as they will want to pass a bill that will empower them to suppress LGBTQ information.

But the Democrats (aka. the good side) control the Senate and the presidency. Surely, they will overwhelmingly reject this ridiculous bill.

And of the Democrats (aka. the good side) don’t overwhelmingly reject this horrible bill, a number of people would have to admit that “yeah, it IS both sides”. We can’t have that though…

-Kevin Smith

This comment has been deemed funny by the community.
Mr. Blond says:


There is no good and bad side when it comes to the First Amendment. I learned that back during the violent video game moral panic. Republicans would harrumph about morals and values, but Democrats were largely the ones proposing and passing unconstitutional bills. The public faces of that issue ended up being Joe Lieberman and Hilary Clinton.

The only ones you can consistently trust with free speech are the Libertarians.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
blakestacey (profile) says:

Axios (blurgh, yes, I know) reports:

Meanwhile, Sen. Brian Schatz is trying to shore up support to include language from his Protecting Kids on Social Media Act. Schatz’s amendment would prohibit social media platforms that know a user is under the age of 17 from using the personal information of that user in a personalized recommendation system. It further states that an individual’s self-attestation of age is insufficient alone to establish that a social media platform does not know that an individual is under the age of 17.

So, yep, age verification.

Anonymous Coward says:


And unless it is done in a very intrusive way, their is no guarantee that the credentials use to verify age belong to the person presenting them, or that the computer is not handed over to a child after logon. Will the next step be to require always on video monitoring of users to protect the children?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Banks already use a form of video user verification to, uh, prevent identity theft from happening. As well as a couple of countries.

I am forced to admit that identity theft is a very dangerpus crime, despite my misgivings of biometric technology and how ridiculously invasive it is.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

There is a difference from a short use of a video cam for identification per transaction, and continuous monitoring to ensure that the person who logged is the person at the computer for the whole session, which may be all day. the first is an inconvenience, the second an invite for the cops and perverts to gain access to those video feeds.

c666ursed (profile) says:

What even is the point of this whole bill? It’s just putting kids into danger rather than helping them. They do this every year and get declined every time. When are they going to take no for an answer? God, it’s so irritating. Is this thing like allowing parents to see everything on their kids phone or is just like safety guards, because no one has been telling me what it’s actually for? Except for the fact that it can cause like really bad things to happen to minors who aren’t out to their parents yet, etc.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

Jeff Terken says:

Good and bad

On its face it’s a violation of civil liberties. On the other hand, if the worst thing that happens to us is that we can only talk in real life in exchange for silencing of sexual perverts and groomers who will manipulate children into inappropriate positions? That’s a price worth paying.

Anonymous Coward says:



I guess you like not being able to criticize your leaders then when they fuck up. Or be able to comment on anything without fear of being snitched on by your neihbor.

That is exactly what this Bill will lead to.

I suppose becoming politically like China is acceptable if “the pedos are all caught”, which is a thing that won’t happen if there’s one party that PROMOTES people who abuse children…

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

Emelia Smith says:

Something that is perhaps maybe the intent, but not something I’ve seen spoken about, but I recall this statistic of like 40% of Americans don’t actually have any form of government issued identification.

Is this KOSA bill just disenfranchisement under the guise of protecting kids?

Maybe it’d be “better” if the KOSA bill also stipulated that all states must implement free identification and free digital identification, and have language in the bill for misusing data / breaches of data privacy?

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...