In California, a new law will enable teenagers to remove embarrassing photos or comments they have posted from their personal pages on social networks.
California really wants to save the reputation of its e- teens with this called “the gum law” that has been enacted by the Governor of California and will come into force on January 1st 2015, so as to give time for relevant websites to adapt to the new regulations.
Defenders of the law intended the mistakes of the youth Internet users not to follow them throughout their lives, especially once they start their professional life. Indeed, profiles on social networks are increasingly being checked by recruiters. “Mistakes of the youth can track their authors throughout their lives and their digital footprints shall follow them wherever they go,” said James Steyer, the founder of the Common Sense Media organization, which supported the law.
The law allows young people under 18 the right to “withdraw, or require the removal of any content or information uploaded to a website or an application.” In fact, social networks such as Twitter and Facebook already offer this feature on their websites. “This is a revolutionary protection for our children, who post photos or comments before thinking of the consequences of their messages,” said the Democratic MP Darrell Steinberg, who is the author of the law. Two limitations exist in this text though: it does not protect adolescents’ comments or pictures downloaded by others, and it does not allow adults to remove their youthful mistakes.
Some oppose this law, saying it makes things even more difficult for websites that are already dealing with various local laws in each U.S. state. Still, others believe that the text could incite websites to gather even more personal information from their younger users. “In addition to the need to know the age of these young webusers, the websites will have to know whether or not their live in California,” said Stephen Balkam, president of the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI).
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