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

    Comment number 69.

    @58 Anxious
    As a UK Citizen, I must be registered for voting (Council).
    The data SHOULD have been mine but councils were told that they needed to make a profit from the register.
    Private details were SOLD.
    You just need to tick the opt-out box. Since moving house 3 yrs ago, I havent had any junk mail at all.

    As for the main story, yet another example of why I avoid the awful social media fad!

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    Thre is no such thing as "The Internet". It is a network of those networks which share a common addressing system and set of inter-operability protocols. Hence the reason it is so difficult to delete msaterial that has been copied and retrnamitted by others. That said, this is a good (and overdue) idea.

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    "Good, If you don't want that responsibility then you should not host a forum. Though, I can't see why it makes it more expensive since mods on small communities are normally unpaid."

    You clearly don't much like people talking. The powers-that-be would appear to agree with you. If mods are going to become legally liable to do prompt work, they probably will need to be paid

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    People stupid enough to use real details and photos rather deserve all they get. It should be the first lesson in computing at all schools.

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    What a bunch of ******

    err, can I delete that please?


Comments 5 of 96


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