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 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

    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

    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

    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

    Comment number 92.

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


Comments 5 of 96


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