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NetChoice Implores Congress to Abandon KOSA and Support Constitutional Solutions for Kids Online

WASHINGTON—Today, the U.S. Senate released an “updated” version of the misleadingly titled Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA). This “new version” rebrand has not meaningfully changed the bill at all—especially its privacy and constitutional problems. 

NetChoice calls on Congress to follow the Constitution and the courts, to embrace constitutional proposals for Americans and kids online, and to abandon censorship regimes masquerading as child safety bills like KOSA. 

Let’s start with the privacy problems. KOSA’s new text requires websites to shield their users from constitutionally protected speech. It claims not to require age-verification, but in reality, companies will still need to verify the ages of their users to avoid legal liability. This means that the federal government, if KOSA is passed, will require companies to collect more data on all users–kids and adults alike, regardless of age. NetChoice is not alone in recognizing this fact: the courts have recognized this in our lawsuits against the states of California, Arkansas and Ohio

Next, an unconstitutional law will protect no one. Lawmakers swear an oath when they are sworn into Congress to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution—including the First Amendment. KOSA, in this new version and in its past versions, violates the Constitution many times over. Along with hundreds of others, we have pointed this out many times, and we’ve had four rulings so far in our lawsuits emphasizing this point. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) also came out with a report echoing these concerns to Congress. Watching so many Senators ignore their sworn duty to protect and uphold Americans’ constitutional rights, while thwarting parents and jeopardizing the data privacy and security of all American minors and adults is truly concerning. 

There are solutions available to lawmakers to keep kids—and ALL Americans—safe and secure online without disregarding the Constitution and judicial precedent. NetChoice has been advocating for these policies all across the country, and we’ve organized a campaign titled SHIELD to make the constitutional solutions for policymakers clear. 

“KOSA’s new version maintains major constitutional problems, which means that it will not keep minors safe online or address the real challenges that children and parents face today. NetChoice is passionately against unconstitutional legislation that will fail to help American families,” said Carl Szabo, NetChoice Vice President & General Counsel. 

“NetChoice implores Congress to keep kids safe online by passing the bipartisan Invest in Child Safety Act, which will help law enforcement lock up predators online. We also encourage Congress to review the rest of our SHIELD model, pass a federal data privacy law that preempts state laws, and implement a digital literacy curriculum, echoing successes in states like Virginia and Florida.”

To parents and all Americans: Congress does not have to violate your rights and compromise your privacy and security to keep kids safe online. They have real alternatives in front of them. 

NetChoice calls on lawmakers to embrace constitutional proposals and abandon bad bills like KOSA.

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