BATON ROUGE, La.—Today, the Louisiana legislature sent HB 61 to Gov. John Bel Edwards.
While the goal of lawmakers to protect kids online is admirable and one that NetChoice strongly supports, HB 61 will subject every social media user in Louisiana to age-verification requirements that violate the First Amendment, place parental authority into government hands, and mandate large-scale data collection on citizens. Instead of violating the freedoms and privacy of Louisianans, Gov. Edwards should work with the legislature to find constitutional solutions to these problems.
“We are hopeful that Gov. Edwards will veto this bill. It violates First Amendment rights, takes away parental rights for their families and requires massive data collection on all Louisiana citizens,” said NetChoice Vice President & General Counsel Carl Szabo. “It will decimate anonymous browsing and gaming – requiring citizens to hand over data to prove their identity and age just to use an online service. Anonymity can be important for individuals using social media services for things like whistleblowers, victims and those identifying crime in the neighborhood who fear backlash.”
Szabo continued: “What’s worse is that HB 61 fails to really address the underlying issues. Instead, Louisiana policymakers could actually help teens and parents by following the educational approaches of Virginia and Florida.”
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