Digital World ACtPrivacy is a precious thing, and 2014 presented a lot of challenges that tested our right to have it. With technological advances comes the risk of possibly losing one’s privacy; therefore, most of us guard it with our lives. In a moment’s notice, secrets that we hold most dear can go viral and be released to the masses, either by our own negligence or by someone else’s. “What happened in Vegas” did not stay in Vegas and, suddenly, the facts are online for all to see.

What if we could, however, erase those details permanently without repercussions? Often the leader in such innovations, California minors are about to do just that, through the Rights for Minors in the Digital World Act.

In a recent article via The Conversation (US Pilot), Adjunct Professor Lydia Jones provides details on the new “erasure service” law, and points out why it may be confusing for companies to implement:

Effective January 1st, the new law now gives minors—users under the age of 18—the right to remove or request removal of online content that he/she finds damaging. On the other hand, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) has been in effect since 1998, and it protects the privacy of minors under the age of 13. COPPA gives parents control over what information is collected from their children online and gives parents access to their children’s personal information so they may review or delete it.

Since the new California erasure law is designed to protect the privacy of everyone under age 18, it will further complicate corporate compliance for those companies that want to balance a corporate or social interest in preserving and analyzing big data with an individual’s right to information privacy. Under COPPA, for example, companies must provide parents a mechanism to access and delete personal information about their children under the age of 13. Under the new California law, companies must provide users who are under 18 a mechanism to remove or request themselves the removal of content and information – but only if they themselves have posted it.

Furthermore, the new law does not require companies to remove content (1) copied or posted by a third party; (2) posted by a minor for which the minor was paid/compensated; (3 that may be de-identified; and (4) does not require the removal of “erased content” from their servers, so long as they delete it from their websites and/or mobile applications.

For more information regarding California’s erasure law, read the full article on The Conversation’s website.


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California’s “Digital World Act” Gets Off To a Confusing Start

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