Californian law gives teens right to delete web posts

 
Young girl on laptop Teenagers often post first and think later

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California has passed a law that will enable under-18s to make websites delete their personal information.

The law, which will take effect in 2015, only covers content, including photos, generated by the individual.

Companies will not have to remove content posted, or reposted, by others. Nor will they have to remove the information from their servers.

The legislation has been welcomed by Common Sense Media, a charity that promotes children's digital privacy.

"Teens often self-reveal before they self-reflect and may post sensitive personal information about themselves - and about others - without realising the consequences," said chief executive James Steyer in a blog post.

A Pew survey indicated 59% of US youngsters with a social-media profile had deleted or edited something they had posted, and 19% had posted comments, photos or updates they later regretted sharing.

Right to be forgotten

Back in May, Google chairman Eric Schmidt said the internet needed a "delete button".

But not everyone believes it is a good idea.

US think tank the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) is concerned websites will not understand what their legal obligations are.

"Our chief concern is that this legal uncertainty will discourage operators from developing content and services tailored to younger users, and will lead popular sites and services that may appeal to minors to prohibit minors from using their services," said CDT's policy counsel Emma Llanso.

In 2010 the European Commission drew up legislation to allow citizens the "right to be forgotten" but recently a judge ruled websites were not responsible for personal data appearing on their pages. And some experts think the ruling means the legislation is unlikely to go ahead.

 

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  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 96.

    If I cant be sure an account is or will be deleted I change all the user profile and settings to fake ones then shut it down via a one use email address made specifically to be used just to get rid of that account.

    I dont do anything to fear online but when I decide something has to go its my choice and no site or government will stop me.

    Checking something out shouldnt tie you in forever..

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 95.

    A good idea, which might be well applied to adults as well. Many people, especially young people, get too easily embarrassed by trolls, so they need a safety net such as data deletion. It is easy, especially for those with a loose or inexperienced command of written English, to say the wrong thing and regret it. Personally, I know what I mean and so I don't much care what others make of my words.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 94.

    This is good seeing as really, the data protection act says any details we supply a company have to be deleted if the person requests it so.
    For some reasons these laws have been ignored online and nothing's been done about it.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 93.

    Is giving the children the means to remove evidence and to lie that they didn't write anything hurtful a real advance?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 92.

    If only the hurt done by a nasty remark on the Internet could be so easily erased!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 91.

    Hitting a delete button won't make stuff disappear. Potentially the young people now have much more chance of an inappropriate comment or post coming back to haunt them years later. Just have to realise that a secret is something that only one person knows.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 90.

    "Teenagers often post first and think later"

    It happens to adults too - Friday night, just home from the pub....

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 89.

    Lets be realistic for a moment. The interwebz is already beyond control.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 88.

    Anyone else noticed that this is just what's outwardly displayed not what is held by the company. Why does the company still hold on to the data.

    Oh wait, so that they can sell it to a company in America, called the NSA, who sell it on to anyone who can figure out how to make money of it.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 87.

    Should apply to all not just children!!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 86.

    "But there are lots of communities out there run by people who don't give a damn about little things like responsibility"

    So children can go to these forums..no need for legislation

    Of course, this isn't good enough for you. You wont be happy until the world is turned into a safe playground for your children at everyone else's expense.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 85.

    70.Christopher Evans
    "I haven't friended anyone who works in HR, so how do they do this? "

    Very easily. Most people either leave their profiles public (through choice or ignorance) or get caught out when likes of Faceache keep changing privacy settings and returning the deafults to Public visibility.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 84.

    Sounds very similar to the '98 Data protection act.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 83.

    @who2believe:

    "Being old and old fashioned I don't use 'social' media so it doesn't affect me in so many ways"

    Sorry to be the one to break it to you...THIS is social media

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 82.

    "61.metallhd
    The US and UK have vastly different internet experiences, and the majority of NA users simply wouldn't put up with the way things are done in England, the net nanny state of all time behind China."

    Someone hasn't been keeping up with the news. PRISM isn't a Chinese tool.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 81.

    @76. Paul

    You clearly don't understand much about running a community. I have been involved with several over the years (small, medium and huge) with lots of helpful, unpaid mods who kept the communities safe and helped younger (and older) users who had silly moments.

    But there are lots of communities out there run by people who don't give a damn about little things like responsibility.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 80.

    I am a cyber crime expert say they have big problem are persons and teens images posted on-line. It is a very dangerous trust.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 79.

    Being old and old fashioned I don't use 'social' media so it doesn't affect me in so many ways. On the face of it, it seems sensible but I do not see why the right is restricted to just the young, I do not see how a California law is going to affect say, Arizona based sites let alone those in other countries etc so it seems like a political soundbite rather than an effective law to me.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 78.

    Not sure why I had a post removed for mentioning there is a marketing opt-out in the electoral register, but such is life.

    With regard to who owns personal images/data posted online, any new privacy laws should of course protect adults too, but the way that online content has grown so rapidly & in such a largely uncontrolled manner might make it difficult to introduce legislation retrospectively.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 77.

    Some problems:
    1) The law doesn't cover server data, so the deleted item may not necessarily be gone, just not shown
    2) Screenshots are easily taken of offending posts
    3) This technically only applies to websites hosted in CA
    4) Age verification on the web is, at best, inaccurate
    5) Following 3, almost impossible to ensure non-CA sites comply as they would have to IP block, which isn't age based

 

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