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October 7, 2013 / Akinyemi Ajayi

California’s Attempt to Protect Minors From Themselves

Dubbed as California’s “Eraser Button” legislation, on September 23, 2013 California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB568.  SB 568 is a law that mandates Internet companies, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, give minors the opportunity to permanently delete content posted online.

Slated to take effect on January 1, 2015, while the legislation allows minors greatly control over the content they post, the law does not give minors the right to require removal of content not posted by them.  As a result, there remains a high likelihood that a minor could still have embarrassing comments or photos posted about them by someone else.  Moreover, another provision of SB 568 will protect minors from certain advertising.  The bill also prohibits companies from marketing and advertising certain products and services to minors, including but not limited to alcohol, tobacco, firearms, tanning salons, lottery tickets, tattoos, and drugs.

With the intention of protecting and allowing minors to change their minds about the choices they make, California legislators understand that young adults are facing more and more scrutiny in the job market, and job searches can easily reveal Internet histories that could haunt a person years, even decades down the road.  However, the legislation does not go far enough to protect minors.  While the content must be removed from companies’ websites, companies are not required to remove the content from their servers.

Though well intentioned, SB 568 does not seem to go far enough in its attempt to regulate children’s’ activities on a medium that too often has devastating impacts on a child’s future.

For more information about online privacy, contact Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP for guidance and a confidential consultation.

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