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Will California’s Child Privacy Law Set a New National Standard?

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A  California privacy law set to go into effect in 2024 will reshape how children and teens use the Internet, Caitlin Dewey reports for Pew Trusts Stateline news service.

The law, which received bipartisan support ,requires tech companies to safeguard children and teens’ “well-being” while using the Internet. Several states have adopted the approach. New York and Pennsylvania are still considering versions of California’s legislation.

Some commentators say it can act as a model for national legislation.

The law restricts online companies from marketing children’s data or tracking their location, with few exceptions. Children and teens must have stricter privacy settings, which must be explained in child-friendly language.

But some of the technology  required to follow the new law, like age verification, is sometimes deemed invasive.

Privacy advocates warn the law requires companies to gather more personal data. It was described as a “Trojan Horse,” and “poison pill,” by Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University School of Law and a prominent commentator on tech policy.

Violations of the California act will be punishable by fines of up to $7,500 per affected child.

“There’s always more sensitivity about children’s data,” said Müge Fazlioglu, the principal researcher at the International Association of Privacy Professionals. “But it is fair to say that Congress has been paying attention.”

James Van Bramer is Associate Editor of TCR.

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