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California Doubles Down on Unconstitutional Efforts That Fail to Protect Kids Safety

OAKLAND, Calif.—Today, California Attorney General Rob Bonta, with State Senator Nancy Skinner and Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, announced two new bills that will jeopardize the safety and security of Californians and their families online, while doing nothing to actually protect children, echoing their unconstitutional effort in NetChoice’s lawsuit, NetChoice v. Bonta.

The sponsors have multiple press releases and a press conference about the legislation, but unfortunately, they haven’t released the bill text to review. While we wait for the text of the bill (which is usually provided when the sponsors are proud of their work), here’s a couple of reasons why, from what Bonta, Skinner and Wicks noted in their press materials, this effort will yet again fail Californians:

  1. It would require even more data collection on all Californians just to use the internet how we do today; 
  2. As we’ve seen in the state’s prior attempt, from the same sponsors, this effort will mandate social media companies to collect things like driver’s license, social security number, birth certificate or more exceptionally sensitive information just to allow Californians onto websites; and
  3. As age verification for everyone under 18 means age-verification for everyone over 18, this is essentially requiring an ID for the internet, which has been rightly labeled as dystopian, in addition to being blatantly unconstitutional.

“These are the same harmful ideas recycled from California’s AADC, which was noted in our case against AG Bonta as unconstitutional,” said Carl Szabo, NetChoice Vice President & General Counsel. “Rather than violate the Constitution, annihilate privacy, and force the government control of families, California policymakers need to engage with alternative, constitutional proposals, like the NetChoice SHIELD effort, to educate and empower parents and kids and imprison predators.”

Szabo continued: “We need to give parents the information they need instead of taking away their rights and assuming they aren’t capable. There are many tools available to parents right now to keep their kids safe online without legislation. But bills like these are part of an insulting ongoing drumbeat that parents are too weak and stupid to know how to raise their children — and that the government should do it for them. NetChoice believes in the power of parents and families, not in top-down solutions that take away their freedoms.

You can read more about NetChoice’s case against the State of California over its AADC, NetChoice v. Bonta, here

Please contact Krista Chavez with inquiries.