WASHINGTON—Today, Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Martha Blackburn plan to reintroduce the Kids Online Safety Act, known as KOSA.
While lawmakers are rightly concerned about keeping American youth safe on the internet and have made notable changes to the bill, KOSA in its latest form will still require online services to verify ages with data collection, and it is the wrong approach to creating a healthy environment for kids online.
By requiring parental consent for users under age 13, online services will need some type of mechanism to verify user ages. Its authors have incorporated language saying age verification isn’t required, yet it still mandates that services bear the legal cost if they fail to block users under 13 that don’t get parental consent. While lawmakers were trying to respond to concerns, unfortunately, how this bill would work in practice still requires an age verification mechanism and data collection on Americans of all ages.
“KOSA will hand the government more power to regulate how Americans of all ages use the internet. Parents, not the government, should be in charge of how their family uses online tools,” said NetChoice Vice President & General Counsel Carl Szabo. “Lawmakers should focus on educating and empowering families to control their online experience.”
“KOSA’s requirements will, even when amended, still cause unintended consequences, such as overcollection of user data. Thankfully, many tools already exist to give parents control over how their children and teens use technology. The solution is empowering parents to take advantage of these tools.”
Szabo continued: “Working out how young people should use technology is a difficult question and has always been best answered by parents. KOSA instead will create an oversight board of DC insiders to replace parents in deciding what’s best for children.”
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