'Eraser' law will let California kids scrub online past

Sep 25, 2013
The Facebook site is displayed on a computer on May 9, 2011 in California. Teenagers' propensity to post underage party hijinks and nasty commentary online have found a dream come true in California, which will soon let them erase their tracks.

Teenagers' nightmarish propensity to post underage party hijinks, flesh-flashing and nasty commentary online have found a dream come true in California, which will soon let them erase their tracks.

The first-of-its-kind "eraser button" law, signed Monday by Governor Jerry Brown, will force social media titans such as Facebook, Twitter and Google let minors scrub their personal online history in the hopes that it might help them avoid personal and work-related problems.

The law will take effect on January 1, 2015.

"Kids so often self-reveal before they self-reflect," James Steyer, founder of Common Sense Media, a in San Francisco that pushed for the law, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

"Mistakes can stay with teens for life, and their digital footprint can follow them wherever they go."

The issue grows increasingly important as the first generation to grow up entirely in the Internet era finds the contents of its online life become more voluminous every day—as well as being largely searchable.

Social media sites will be required to inform their users about the new rights. Twitter and Facebook already make deleting pictures and comments an option.

The Twitter site is displayed on a computer screen in London September 11, 2013. The first-of-its-kind "eraser button" law will force Facebook, Twitter and Google let minors scrub their personal online history.

"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 California state senator Darrell Steinberg.

But not everyone is delighted.

For the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), the law appears worrisome itself because it will force of considerable information about minors.

"Instead of protecting their information, (you) actually end up collecting more of their information, because aside the need to know what age the child is, they'll need to know whether they're in California or not," FOSI chief Stephen Balkam told AFP.

He said it also made it more likely that more children would lie about their age online.

Last year, California also passed a law to ban businesses and universities from asking their employees or students for their Facebook account passwords.

Explore further: Japan court orders Facebook to reveal revenge porn IP addresses

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Facebook explores access for kids under 13

Jun 04, 2012

Facebook is working on technology that would permit children under the age of 13 to use the social network site with parental supervision, people familiar with the effort said Monday.

Poll: Teens migrating to Twitter (Update)

May 21, 2013

Twitter is booming as a social media destination for teenagers who complain about too many adults and too much drama on Facebook, according to a new study published Tuesday about online behavior. It said ...

US 'concerned' by new Vietnam social media curbs

Aug 06, 2013

The United States on Tuesday said it was "deeply concerned" over a sweeping new Internet law in Vietnam which bans bloggers and social media users from sharing news stories online.

Recommended for you

Twitter looks to weave into more mobile apps

10 hours ago

Twitter on Wednesday set out to weave itself into mobile applications with a free "Fabric" platform to help developers build better programs and make more money.

Google unveils app for managing Gmail inboxes

11 hours ago

Google is introducing an application designed to make it easier for its Gmail users to find and manage important information that can often become buried in their inboxes.

Fighting cyber-crime one app at a time

17 hours ago

This summer Victoria University of Wellington will be home to four Singaporean students researching cyber threats. The students have been working with Dr Ian Welch, a lecturer in Victoria's School of Engineering and Computer ...

Is big data heading for its 'horsemeat moment'?

19 hours ago

There have been so many leaks, hacks and scares based on misuse or misappropriation of personal data that any thought that "big data" could provide benefits rather than only opportunities for harm may be ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

alfie_null
5 / 5 (3) Sep 25, 2013
How does California enforce this law? There's a whole world of web sites that aren't in California.
El_Nose
5 / 5 (1) Sep 26, 2013
This is great and should not be limited to minors. Even adults make mistakes and should be able to edit what is publicly available for inquiring eyes. Its a great forward thinking move.

Enforcement... If a minor is unable to erase something then a suit is filed and the company is fined daily until the utility is added. That's pretty standard practice. You don't have to be located in a State to be subject to it's laws ... example return laws, commenting laws, sales tax, which contrary to popular belief is enforceable just very rarely.
Sinister1811
1 / 5 (4) Sep 26, 2013
This is great and should not be limited to minors. Even adults make mistakes and should be able to edit what is publicly available for inquiring eyes. Its a great forward thinking move.


That's exactly what I was thinking. Why does this only apply to teenagers? Anyone should be entitled to delete their history if they choose to.