LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Yesterday, Arkansas approved SB 396, which supplants parents’ role in protecting youth online with government-knows-best restrictions. While the goal of lawmakers to protect kids online is admirable and one that NetChoice strongly supports, SB 396 will subject every social media user in Arkansas to age-verification requirements the Supreme Court has already struck down as unconstitutional.
“Age-verification requirements raise privacy concerns, adversely stifle freedom of speech online and pose serious First Amendment problems,” said NetChoice Vice President & General Counsel Carl Szabo. “It’s concerning to see states enacting proposals that will undermine constitutional protections while they’re trying to make a good-faith effort to protect minors online.”
Szabo continued: “What Americans really need is a federal data privacy law that protects data, focuses on the actual harm done when data is misused, and preempts the growing patchwork of burdensome state laws that makes it difficult for consumers to understand their rights. Kids also need more educational programming on healthy social media use, as proposed in states like Florida, Indiana and Virginia.”