January 23, 2022

Californian Law Gives Teens Right to Delete Web Posts

From the BBC:

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.

Quick Comment from infoDOCKET’s Gary Price: 
As I’ve said many times and in many places removing something from the web, in this case, from the social networking service it was first posted on, DOES NOT MEAN it will be 100% removed and 100% inaccessible.

Between various web archives, caches, not to mention individuals copying open web content to the cloud or on their own hard drive this law will give teens a false sense of security.

Plus, if someone, anyone reposts the material it will continue to be available online. 

We were all teens at one time and we all made and continue to make mistakes in judgement but this legislation is not an effective way to teach what needs to be understood both in the short and long term. 

An understanding of how the web works (and doesn’t work) would be a much better solution.

In other words, once you click publish or post, it’s gone and there is NO WAY you will ever know it’s completely removed from the digital record.” By the way, a clear understanding of what happens once you post something to the web is not limited to only teens. All of this is more reasons why digital literacy is so important and a key role for the 21st century info pro. 

Additional Coverage

New law lets teens delete digital skeletons (via SF Chronicle)

Web companies also are not required to scrub their servers clean of personal data, just remove the requested item from public viewing. Under the law, sites can offer ways for users to make the redaction directly, or provide an avenue for users to request one.

Gov. Jerry Brown signs bill increasing online privacy for minors in California (via Southern California Public Radio)
Useful background about the legislation.

Full Text of Statement by State Sentator Darrell Steinberg, Co-Sponsor of the Legislation

“This is a groundbreaking protection for our kids who often act impetuously with postings of ill-advised pictures or messages before they think through the consequences. They deserve the right to remove this material that could haunt them for years to come,” said Steinberg (D-Sacramento). “At the same time, this bill will help keep minors from being bombarded with advertisements for harmful products that are illegal for them to use, like alcohol, tobacco and guns. I thank Governor Brown for recognizing that these common sense protections will help our children as they navigate the on-line world.

Read the Legislation

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.