Article by Natasha Singer: “California will adopt a broad new approach to protecting children online after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill on Thursday that could transform how many social networks, games and other services treat minors.
Despite opposition from the tech industry, the State Legislature unanimously approved the bill at the end of August. It is the first state statute in the nation requiring online services likely to be used by youngsters to install wide-ranging safeguards for users under 18.
Among other things, the measure will require sites and apps to curb the risks that certain popular features — like allowing strangers to message one another — may pose to younger users. It will also require online services to turn on the highest privacy settings by default for children.
“We’re taking aggressive action in California to protect the health and well-being of our kids,” Governor Newsom said in a statement that heralded the new law as “bipartisan landmark legislation” aimed at protecting the well-being, data and privacy of children.
Called the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act, the new legislation compels online services to take a proactive approach to safety — by designing their products and features from the outset with the “best interests” of young users in mind.
The California measure could apply to a wide range of popular digital products that people under 18 are likely to use: social networks, game platforms, connected toys, voice assistants and digital learning tools for schools. It could also affect children far beyond the state, prompting some services to introduce changes nationwide, rather than treat minors in California differently…(More)”.