NetChoice Seeks Injunction Against California’s Disastrous Internet Law
NetChoice, a trade association that represents tech firms, has sued to block California’s Age-Appropriate Design Code Act (A.B. 2273), the state’s hamfisted attempt to protect children online. As NetChoice writes in a request for a preliminary injunction filed last month, the law violates the Constitution by “enact[ing] a system of prior restraint over protected speech using undefined, vague terms, and creat[ing] a regime of proxy censorship, forcing online services to restrict speech in ways the State could never do directly.”
The law will require any business (as defined by California statute) offering online services “likely to be accessed by children” to “[e]stimate the age of child users with a reasonable level of certainty appropriate to the risks that arise from the data management practices of the business or apply the privacy and data protections afforded to children to all consumers” (emphasis added). In other words, if a company cannot erect obstacles for children users specifically, it must create obstacles for all users.
Such child-specific protections include pre-configuring settings to maximize privacy and refraining from collecting, maintaining, or selling nonessential data. Moreover, before offering a new online service likely to be accessed by children, businesses must investigate and detail how it could cause children harm. Like many other broad terms, the law leaves “harm” undefined. “[B]ecause it rests on standards and phrases that are impermissibly vague,” the law is “invalid,” according to NetChoice.
NetChoice posits that A.B. 2273 “places the burden on all online providers to configure their services in a child-friendly way, rather than empower specific households with the controls and information they need
Article from Reason.com