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'Eraser' Law Will Let California Kids Scrub Online Past

samzenpus posted 1 year,25 days | from the never-happened dept.

The Internet 266

gregor-e writes "The first-of-its-kind 'eraser button' law, signed Monday by Governor Jerry Brown, will force social media titans such as Facebook, Twitter and Google let minors scrub their personal online history in the hopes that it might help them avoid personal and work-related problems. The law will take effect on January 1, 2015."

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266 comments

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Great idea! Let's keep it going: (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955545)

A new California law will require local bars to eliminate any alcohol consumed by minors from their bodies on demand. Supporters say this new law will reduce the amount of drunk-driving and poor decisions made by drunk minors. It might help them avoid personal and work-related problems.

Re:Great idea! Let's keep it going: (1)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955639)

A new California law will require local bars to eliminate any alcohol consumed by minors from their bodies on demand. Supporters say this new law will reduce the amount of drunk-driving and poor decisions made by drunk minors. It might help them avoid personal and work-related problems.

Not to mention eliminating many pesky pregnancies, And they can also succeed where Indiana failed, and legislate Pi to be the number 3, thus improving test scores across the State.

Re:Great idea! Let's keep it going: (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | 1 year,25 days | (#44956127)

Not to mention eliminating many pesky pregnancies

That's no guarantee. You need a button to eliminate all sperm 'consumed' by minors.

Contest (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955549)

Can somebody here write a cgi script (soon to come in handy) to detect which IPs are from California and ask for confirmation that they are indeed at least 18 years old? Sorry, CA teenagers, you're not coming on MY site. You know, in the same way COPPA effectively made 13 the internet age...

Re:Contest (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44956045)

How would that help? I doubt the law is phrased such that it only applies to confessed minors. You have personally identifiable information on a minor in your system? You have to scrub it on request. It doesn't matter if that information inaccurately describes the age of the minor. That is like giving bar tenders a free pass because the child had a fake id drawn in crayon.

Re:Contest (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44956071)

So, basically, gotta have every site require sending an ID and a proof whenever you register. Anonymous posting's right out.

Re:Contest (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44956195)

How would that help? I doubt the law is phrased such that it only applies to confessed minors. You have personally identifiable information on a minor in your system? You have to scrub it on request. It doesn't matter if that information inaccurately describes the age of the minor. That is like giving bar tenders a free pass because the child had a fake id drawn in crayon.

Yes, a bartender is the perfect analogy here. After all, I always have to show my ID when I visit a website.

Re:Contest (5, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | 1 year,25 days | (#44956197)

The following is why this law is bogus. I know politicians have been trying to change this, but they have no actual, legal authority to do so:

Historically, and continuing to the present the courts -- on up to the Supreme Court -- have ruled that when any kind of "transaction" is taking place, it takes place in the state of the place of business of the vendor. (That's why states can't charge a company sales tax unless the company has "a substantial physical presence" in that state.)

This legal precedent goes back more than 150 years, to the days when mail-order began to become big business. And note: internet sales (memberships, subscriptions, etc.) ARE nothing but mail-order. The only thing that has changed is the method of payment (credit card, Paypal, viewing online advertising).

The point here is: when you visit a website, legally the website is not coming to you, YOU are going THERE. It cannot, as a practical matter, work any other way because there is simply no way a given website can know all the local laws everywhere.

So if you have a website in Poughkeepsie, Gov. Jerry Brown has no legal authority to tell you what you can and cannot do with your website. He can tell you that you can't make sales in California. But other than that, he can't dictate what you do. Legally, Californians are visiting YOU, not the other way around.

Re:Contest (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | 1 year,25 days | (#44956233)

I should add: any attempt to mess with this arrangement runs smack up against State sovereignty problems. There are many, many, many decades of legal precedent over this stuff.

And the Feds might have the power to "regulate" (which means "to keep regular... not to ban or dictate) interstate trade, but that doesn't mean they have authority to tell someone what they can do in their own state, which is what mail-order (and websites) do.

Brown is trying to pull something akin to those Federal judges who tried to ban IP addresses that were in some other country. He just doesn't have the legal authority to do it. It's out of his jurisdiction... as long as it's not in California.

Re:Contest (2)

whoever57 (658626) | 1 year,25 days | (#44956395)

And the Feds might have the power to "regulate" (which means "to keep regular... not to ban or dictate) interstate trade, but that doesn't mean they have authority to tell someone what they can do in their own state, which is what mail-order (and websites) do.

I'm sorry, but that boat sailed away a long time ago. If the feds can control what you grow on your own land for consumption by your own family, or can control your rights to grow your own weed for medicianl purposes, then the effect of the commerce clause is that the feds can tell anyone what they can do in their own state, unless such a law is explicitly prohibited by the constitution.

Re:Contest (1)

monatomic (2612833) | 1 year,25 days | (#44956375)

In case you didn't notice, Facebook, Google and Twitter are based in California. So the law does apply to them.

Re:Contest (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | 1 year,25 days | (#44956469)

The following is why this law is bogus. [...] Historically, and continuing to the present the courts -- on up to the Supreme Court -- have ruled that when any kind of "transaction" is taking place, it takes place in the state of the place of business of the vendor

Yes yes, all true.

So if you have a website in Poughkeepsie, Gov. Jerry Brown has no legal authority to tell you what you can and cannot do with your website.

Yes, but what if you are in California?

Facebook Inc: 1601 Willow Rd Menlo Park, CA 94025
Google Inc, Mountain View, CA
Apple: 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA, 95014
Twitter: 1355 Market St, San Francisco, CA, 94103
MySpace: 349 - 8391 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 90048

I'm sensing a trend here.

Microsoft: Ok... that one is based in Redmond, WA
But they have offices:
here: 100 - 300 Capitol Mall, Sacramento, CA, 95814
here: 700 - 835 Market Street, San Franciso, CA, 94103
and here: 1065 La Avenida, Mountain View, CA, 94043

Care to explain again why this law is bogus?

Re: Contest (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44956511)

These companies are mostly incorporated in Delaware, the same laws as tax would apply so California's laws still don't apply.

Insanity is a dish best served via tennis racket. (5, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | 1 year,25 days | (#44956351)

Can somebody here write a cgi script (soon to come in handy) to detect which IPs are from California and ask for confirmation that they are indeed at least 18 years old?

That's simple, but I'm against "one size fits all" CGI "scripts" (since they don't exist), and also my CGI is not scripted, it's compiled C code. It's quite an easy bit of logic: In addition to the age verification for 13 year olds, simply also ask their state of origin. If they check the box:
[_] I am a resident of California, or am connecting ultimately from California (regardless of proxy).
Then you simply add five years to the output age from your date checking.

That way, you can be sure they're old enough to use your services. What I've discovered about my website visitors is that those who are not my target demographic for games forums (18-35) are octogenarians with severe potty-mouths! Some said this method was suspect, so I allowed the users to enter the actual year of their birth instead of drop-down boxes. The results were Astounding! Those that are not 18-35 are now 80% likely to be Ancient Ones who've lived for over two thousand years! I'm not an ageist, so I don't discriminate against those timeless immortals by denying them access. XxHalo343xX celebrated her 2013th birthday the same day she signed up, far be it from me to spoil her special day.

Additionally, a far rarer but greatly more mind-blowing fact is that there are time travelers among us from as early as 2038! Now, I'm not racist or sexist and I see no reason to block the chrono-displaced due to a mere CGI program oversight, so we welcome these visitors as well. I'm sure the regulations for operating a time machine ensure far more responsibility than merely deciding to say stuff on the Internet... Despite our prying, they remain tight lipped about the future, revealing only that global warming will cause another ice age, and that the PRISM leaks were caused by one of their ilk: Snowden? It seems so obvious in retrospect! Where else would you live during an ice age? Besides, I'm of the opinion that rather than inconvenience the entire space-time continuum, parents could simply be actual parents and monitor their kids' time-traveling activities if they're concerned.

It light of my recent discoveries I plan to change the date-based age verifier with a single simple checkbox:
[_] I am at least 13 years old, Not an enemy of the (current) USA, am 18 years of age if hailing from present-day California, and want cookies.

Surely you don't need a "contest" to write code that verifies if a single boolean value is true?

if ( 0 > false && G_theCheckBox > -1 || true < 0 ) { /*...*/ }
Blam! You're welcome. Even handles both negative and positive values of 'true' and 'false'!

ARNIE IS BEHIND IT !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955551)

In T4 !! Saggy T4 !!

Re:ARNIE IS BEHIND IT !! (2)

Hsien-Ko (1090623) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955673)

Relax.... you've been erased.

Thin edge of the wedge! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955557)

If they let minors do this, why not everyone?

Re:Thin edge of the wedge! (5, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955789)

If they let minors do this, why not everyone?

The better question is "How do you scrub something off the Internet?" Barbra Streisand wants to know...

Re:Thin edge of the wedge! (3, Interesting)

Fluffeh (1273756) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955985)

Even more interesting is how this will play out with caches of sites. By that I mean, site A has the eraser button in place, and everything works fine and dandy. Site B keeps caches, but doesn't let minors/users from California access it. Site B caches site A and maintains the "un-ersaed" data from the original site.

Both sites therefore work within the letter of the law, yet the information is still online.

Re:Thin edge of the wedge! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44956067)

If there was a way to scrub Barbra Streisand from history I think everyone would want to know that.

Re:Thin edge of the wedge! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44956165)

When is NSA offering that feature?

Re:Thin edge of the wedge! (1)

swillden (191260) | 1 year,25 days | (#44956337)

If they let minors do this, why not everyone?

You mean, like the way you can delete your Twitter, Facebook and Google+ posts today? Assuming this is about social media like the summary implies, this law irrelevant, because you can already do it. I suppose it might prevent the social sites from taking the ability to delete stuff away, but it's not clear why they'd ever do that anyway.

Is this even constitutional? (1, Interesting)

BitterOak (537666) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955569)

If people post stuff on an online social media site, aren't they giving permission to publish it online? Can they really revoke that permission later? Aren't there First Amendment issues here? If I have a blog site with a public comments section, am I legally obligated to maintain that site forever so I can delete comments whenever someone turns 18 and demands it be deleted?

Re:Is this even constitutional? (2)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955659)

If people post stuff on an online social media site, aren't they giving permission to publish it online? Can they really revoke that permission later? Aren't there First Amendment issues here? If I have a blog site with a public comments section, am I legally obligated to maintain that site forever so I can delete comments whenever someone turns 18 and demands it be deleted?

What about if the screen shots are printed in an art book? Must the book be burned on demand?

Re:Is this even constitutional? (2, Interesting)

superwiz (655733) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955709)

If people post stuff on an online social media site, aren't they giving permission to publish it online?

Minor cannot legally enter into a contract. By the virtue of this, they cannot give legally binding consent to anything.

Re:Is this even constitutional? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955825)

It's a double-edged sword. If they can't agree to Facebook's TOS, then they can't register an account at all.

Minors are not immune from the law just because they fraudulently entered into a contract (i.e. lied about their age).

Re:Is this even constitutional? (2)

c0lo (1497653) | 1 year,25 days | (#44956301)

It's a double-edged sword. If they can't agree to Facebook's TOS, then they can't register an account at all.

Minors are not immune from the law just because they fraudulently entered into a contract (i.e. lied about their age).

True, but irrelevant for the matter of hand.
You see, in this case, it is not the minor than needs to do something to rollback the effects of a fradulent contract, it is the other side entering the contract. It is up to you (as a "service provider") to take any precautions against potential losses resulting from entering contracts with minors.
Here's another example: if you buy in good faith a stolen car, you can still incur the loss of the car when restituted to the lawfull owner even if you did not know the car you bought was stollen.

Re:Is this even constitutional? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955845)

I don't think thats entirely true. Otherwise minors could never purchase anything, etc. There are limits though.

Re:Is this even constitutional? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955859)

Right, and there was a time when any site that did anything similar to what facebook does, they'd have a disclaimer up front that you had to be 18 to have an account. But facebook and others have wantently ignore the very obvious fact that the majority of their users are under age. Well you can't have a legally binding contract with a Tween. Fuck them.

Re:Is this even constitutional? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955981)

facebook and others have wantently ignore

Wantonly. The word is wantonly [thefreedictionary.com] .

Re:Is this even constitutional? (1)

nigelo (30096) | 1 year,25 days | (#44956089)

Hussy!

Re:Is this even constitutional? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955909)

Minors can enter into contracts. There are just different rules.

http://nationalparalegal.edu/public_documents/courseware_asp_files/domesticRelations/FamilyRelationships/Contracts.asp

Re:Is this even constitutional? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955737)

> If people post stuff on an online social media site, aren't they giving permission to publish it online?

Minors cannot enter into contracts. They cannot assign the right to redistribute the works to which they own copyright.

> Can they really revoke that permission later?

Yep. Because they cannot enter into contracts in the first place.

> Aren't there First Amendment issues here?

Nope, FB can say that so and so signed up and posted stuff... but they cant say what it was since the minors own the copyright and *cant enter into a contract* to allow FB to repost it.

> If I have a blog site with a public comments section, am I legally obligated to maintain that site forever so I can delete comments whenever someone turns 18 and demands it be deleted?

Nope, but whoever hosts it would have to respond to a DMCA request since you dont have license to display it.

Re:Is this even constitutional? (0)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,25 days | (#44956115)

Copyright is a contract, so obviously a minor can't "own" one.

Re:Is this even constitutional? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955843)

If people post stuff on an online social media site, aren't they giving permission to publish it online?

That sounds like a contract. Last time I checked, you had to be of legal age to enter into a contract.

Re:Is this even constitutional? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955847)

First Amendment issues? Such as?
 
You motherfuckers really need to sit down and take a long good look at the constitution and its place in government.
 
The really pathetic thing is that your dumb ass got modded up.

Re:Is this even constitutional? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955911)

If people post stuff on an online social media site, aren't they giving permission to publish it online?

Yes, that is part of the terms of service the user agrees to when they use a site.

Can they really revoke that permission later?

Yes. If TOS says the user has the ability to do this, then not letting the user do so is a violation of the contract with the user. This CA law essentially says it is illegal to offer service with a TOS that does not say the user has this ability.

Aren't there First Amendment issues here?

Quoting only the relevant parts:

Congress shall make no law (stuff about religion) or abridging the freedom of speech, (stuff about the press, peaceable assembly, and petitioning for grievances).

How can forcing Facebook to remove a users content, at the user's request, be abridging the users freedom of speech?

If I have a blog site with a public comments section, am I legally obligated to maintain that site forever so I can delete comments whenever someone turns 18 and demands it be deleted?

Ah, you are worried about the free speech for Facebook.

Think of the rights in the constitution as a starting point, from which you can negotiate. You can (if you choose) give up these rights in a contract. For example, I have a right to free speech, but as part of my employment contract I signed away the right to disclose some trade secrets of my employer. As part of the same contract, they signed away the right to publish medical data they will learn about me when they pay health insurance claims.

This law says Facebook can not enter into a contract with some CA residents unless that contract gives the user certain rights. Facebook doesn't have to have those people as users. If they value the right to express their political or religious opinion by posting pictures of drunken eight year olds, they can continue to do so. What they can not do is enter into a contract with an eight year old CA resident that does not give her the option of removing the picture from their servers, if she so chooses.

Re:Is this even constitutional? (5, Informative)

Sarten-X (1102295) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955927)

TL;DR: Yes, yes, no, probably not.

I am not a lawyer, I am certainly not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice. I just read a lot of laws, and have far too many lawyer friends for my own good...

aren't they giving permission to publish it online? Can they really revoke that permission later?

Per the conditions of your site's Terms of Service (you do have them, don't you?), the content your users give you may or may not be retained, retransmitted, adapted, or whatever else. By using the site, your users agree to that and grant you permission. Those terms govern what you can do with what you're given. For example, Slashdot's terms [slashdotmedia.com] say that by commenting, you're giving them permission to publish your comments indefinitely, in pretty much any form they want. Under Slashdot's terms, that permission cannot be rescinded.

Minors are special [nolo.com] . Despite the apparent common opinion here, they can enter into a contract... they just usually can't be forced to uphold their end of it [nolo.com] . As far as copyright permission goes, this means you probably are already under a legal obligation to remove it if they want, because they can choose to void the contract giving you the permission... but to make you do that, the minor would have to realize the intricacies of contract law, realize that they still have exclusive copyright over their posting, and figure out how to contact you to request removal.

California's law requires an accessible way to remove (or request the removal of) a minor's own posting, that stops whatever's deleted from being published further. It's practically irrelevant, since most sites already have such a function... the problem is that it's hard to find, and people don't use it nearly as quickly as they should. The law only requires that such a function be "clear". Good luck with that.

Aren't there First Amendment issues here?

The First Amendment has no real part in this. The First Amendment is between you and the government, only. It does not come into play in contracts between you and a web site operator, unless the operator is a government entity itself. That might involve the First Amendment, but I doubt it will be a significant issue.

am I legally obligated to maintain that site forever

The law doesn't have any time limit built into it, so time limits will be up to the courts to decide, but the law also doesn't require you to actually erase the data. You're only forbidden from retransmitting it, so if your site has a self-service delete button, that's probably fine. If you take your whole site offline, nobody can get to it, so that's probably fine, too. Bringing it back later with all the old content intact is riskier. The exact type of site also matters, because the law only comes into effect if you know that minors are using it. A forum dedicated to the latest teen heartthrobs would obviously fall into that category, but a forum for discussing do-it-yourself RV repairs probably wouldn't.

I highly recommend reading the actual text [ca.gov] of the law. The first part is prohibiting certain advertisements toward minors, but the erasure part starts at section 22581. As with all legal text, realize that it's written to cover as much as possible, so try to ignore the repetition and it becomes much easier to read.

Riiiiight. This will be effective, no doubt. (3, Insightful)

LurkerXXX (667952) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955573)

Will someone in California please let Jerry Brown know that the internet never forgets?

Re:Riiiiight. This will be effective, no doubt. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955741)

It never forgives either but apparently California can forgive the man solely responsible for California's doom. I get the Arnold wasn't an ideal governor but they are the ones that voted him in. But of course, voting Brown back into office will surely fix his mistakes and the mistakes that Brown had already made right? Not only is this bill unconstitutional but it's clearly designed with lawyers all over it. How long will it be before websites left and right (probably just right) gets sued over this, or at least fined money for refusing to take down posts. But hey, that's only applicable to California like the rest of the horse shit laws (sorry NY but California really has you beat in unbelievable stupid laws).

Sorry but if I have to move my servers overseas to protect the right of free speech, then so be it. I already moved away from analytics and quantcast and i disabled google ads by implementing my own system which seems to work better anyways. No user tracking, probably little to no NSA, and free speech is protected. So yeah, you can say whatever you want Mr. Brown but fuck you, we don't belong to you. (oh, that's kind of nice :D)

Re:Riiiiight. This will be effective, no doubt. (1)

JDAustin (468180) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955767)

As a native Californian (who is stuck living in the bay area), this state has proved that states should make due with part-time legislatures. You can add the various anti-gun bills (lets see...no more lead ammo for hunting, a .22 semi rifle is reclassified as a assualt rifle and as such can no longer have ownership transfered (so when you die, the state gets it)) on top of this heap of shit.

Re:Riiiiight. This will be effective, no doubt. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44956415)

Such a terrible state that it has the 12th largest economy [wikipedia.org] in the world. A fairly diversified economy [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Riiiiight. This will be effective, no doubt. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955939)

Will someone in California please let Jerry Brown know that the internet never forgets?

The open internet does not forget widely shared information. Closed, walled-garden systems such as facebook are capable of forgetting.

Don't believe me? Lets test it. I will delete a picture from facebook in the next ten minutes. Try and recover it.

Re:Riiiiight. This will be effective, no doubt. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,25 days | (#44956061)

Will someone in California please let Jerry Brown know that the internet never forgets?

Since when has reality ever factored in when politicians try to legislate technological issues they don't understand and can't control?

As well intentioned as it is, between jurisdictional issues and technical issues ... you just can't hope to make this work.

Kind of like do-not-call lists and rules which require spam to identify itself as spam and give you a way to unsubscribe. People just ignore them too.

Thanks Jerry, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955575)

What about the government?
What about adults?
What about online information that could now be considered an important part of internet history?

Just some food for thought.

GLWT (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955579)

See subject line.

How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955591)

How does Cali have jurisdiction over anything online?

Re:How? (4, Insightful)

superwiz (655733) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955607)

By the virtue of having jurisdiction over the land on which the server farms are located and the land on which most of these companies have their HQ's.

Re:How? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955665)

Translation: "Oh, you want us to move out of state? We can do that. 'bye."

Re:How? (2)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955693)

The problem is that they have to get in line behind all the other people leaving. That includes two Northern counties.

Re:How? (3, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955775)

Yeah, sure. Facebook and Google are going to leave California over the right to keep incriminating information on minors. Do you REALLY think that will happen?

as a new yorker (1)

superwiz (655733) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955593)

I, for one, would welcome those companies moving all their remaining business here. They make most of their money on the stock market, anyway. About time they spent most of their money in New York, too. It's a win-win for California. This way California politicians won't have to worry about how to enforce the law. They can blame the lack of enforcement on the fact that Cali is no longer solvent.

Re:as a new yorker (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955917)

Why would anyone in their right mind move their business to NY? It's like relocating to France, just not as bad. I get what you mean but NY isn't that much different than California and every year they seem to fight on who can revoke freedom and liberty the most, not to mention how high they can increase taxes. It's absurd.

Does this trump NSA data collection? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955613)

If so, I'll be 17 forever

disappointed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955653)

Eraser law with no mention of the former Governator...

Cyberbullies rejoice (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955663)

Now bullies under 18 (or claiming to be) can scrub all of their dirty dealings before their victims can collect evidence.

Not fair! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955677)

Just the kids? I'd PAY for this.

Re:Not fair! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955851)

We do that service! PM me for details / fee schedule.

How about an unerase button? (2)

Urza9814 (883915) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955683)

I'd prefer a way to unerase the stuff I did as a minor. There's some info I once had on MySpace that I'd kinda like back, but apparently they wiped all of that... :(

Re:How about an unerase button? (1)

camperdave (969942) | 1 year,25 days | (#44956109)

Wayback machine?

Not as stupid as it sounds (4, Interesting)

artor3 (1344997) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955689)

No doubt many Slashdotters will trip over each other in their rush to proclaim that this will never work, insisting that the internet never forgets, and maybe mentioning the Streisand effect.

But the point isn't to erase the past entirely. Just to make it not so obvious. For example, a certain Republican presidential candidate used to have a "Google problem" [wikipedia.org] . Now, maybe that problem was well deserved given his policy positions, but he wanted to erase it. He didn't need it to disappear from the internet entirely, which would be impossible in any case, he just wanted it to not be the top result when someone searched his name.

It seems both possible and beneficial to allow young adults to bury some of the embarrassments of their college and high school years. The information is still there for anyone looking for it, but does it really make sense for it to be the top result? If I'm Googling potential employees, I'm probably more interested in papers they published than a YouTube video of them drunkenly dancing on a table.

Re:Not as stupid as it sounds (1)

gweihir (88907) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955735)

"Googeling" somebody is not as easy as you make it sound. It already requires careful checks to make sure you have the right person and it requires interpretation by experienced experts. What will happens that specialized information services just grab and retain this information and provide ratings for prospective employees for a fee, as they do now.

Re:Not as stupid as it sounds (4, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955827)

If I'm Googling potential employees, I'm probably more interested in papers they published than a YouTube video of them drunkenly dancing on a table.

And later you can answer all those people who ask how you could hire a teacher like that. A lot of companies are deathly afraid of a scandal, and it is easier to cut it off in the hiring process than to fire people later. (Which means you get sneaker scoundrels, which is what they want, I guess.)

Re:Not as stupid as it sounds (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44956063)

500 applicants. 50 are qualified. How do you screen them?

Re:Not as stupid as it sounds (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44956145)

People who use this type of thing just to cut down the pool are fucking morons. If you can't rank applicants objectively then just pick one at random and move on.

Re:Not as stupid as it sounds (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | 1 year,25 days | (#44956309)

Which means you get sneaker scoundrels, which is what they want, I guess.

You get more extremes - more people who are utterly bland (and thus only suited for cog-in-the-machine type work that doesn't require any creativity) and more people who are devious enough to fool the system into being utterly bland. Which may well have the effect of pushing for even more invasive background investigations. Pretty much a fail all around.

Re:Not as stupid as it sounds (1)

artor3 (1344997) | 1 year,25 days | (#44956315)

Like I said, if they're really interested in finding scandalous stuff, they can dig for it. It'll still be there. But should it really be the first thing that comes up?

Re:Not as stupid as it sounds (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955969)

idiot, you know nothing

Re:Not as stupid as it sounds (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44956079)

If I'm Googling potential employees, I'm probably more interested in papers they published than a YouTube video of them drunkenly dancing on a table.

You could try, you know, searching on Google Scholar instead of Youtube.

Re:Not as stupid as it sounds (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44956137)

It seems both possible and beneficial to allow young adults to bury some of the embarrassments of their college and high school years.

Yeah, because we all know damn well that trying to teach them to actually act responsible in life is simply beyond reproach. Obviously the best lesson to be taught here is a get-out-of-jail-free card. Yes, that's got to be the right answer. After all, that's how it works in the real world every time too.

A lesson learned the hard way is a lesson few forget. I suppose this concept is dead to parents these days. Anyone ever met anyone who actually built character, or have humans made that extinct?

I give this program a year when it goes live, max. After the storm of fucktards relying upon the "delete" button comes forth in society, flooding social media and hospitals with acts of sheer stupidity that would make Jackass movies look like safety training videos, lawmakers might realize that this law is the Streisand Effect.

Re:Not as stupid as it sounds (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | 1 year,25 days | (#44956497)

I have to say that, as long as the law is crafted very carefully, I agree with this assessment of the law. Kids can be very, very stupid, and their future older, wiser selves shouldn't be shackled to their past forever.

That said, I would require some sort of time to have passed (on the order of years) before the "eraser button" could be pressed, to avoid making things confusing for others.

right now.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955701)

Right now digital fingerprints hurt because they are new. When everyone has it, it will become normal and it will not matter.

Internet never forgets... (2)

sinij (911942) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955703)

"Internet never forgets" is not a problem if you were an adult when social media first became popular. For young people today it will be cruel and unusual punishment once they turn adults.

I don't think it is reasonable to judge someone based on what they said many years ago. People change. People grow up and become adults.

At the same time we know that legislative solution like that will be ineffective. Only social change would work, but that won't happen until our generation is around. So they are screwed for at least another decade(s).

Utter nonsense (0)

gweihir (88907) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955719)

What will happen is that companies that trade in this information will just grab it periodically and store it. If placed outside US jurisdiction (yes, I know the US has this fantasy the whole world is US jurisdiction, but that was over quite some time ago), there is nothing they can do. And making it illegal to query such information will not work either, it will just be buffered enough that no LEA has a chance.

This law can have negative effects though: Teens, believing themselves safe, will be even more careless.

To sum up: Clueless lawmakers with a disconnect from reality try to change reality by making a law. And fail. And do significant damage. As usual.

Re:Utter nonsense (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | 1 year,25 days | (#44956299)

To sum it up another way, our prisons are full of people who think and act as you do. Dishonest people always get caught.

Five applicants for every job (2)

Animats (122034) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955725)

This is only an issue because there are five applicants for every job and more than half of college graduates move back in with their parents. Everybody now sends their resume to everybody, and HR departments are overwhelmed. The result is extensive filtering on easy to check, but not too useful, criteria by HR departments.

Re:Five applicants for every job (2)

guruevi (827432) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955803)

I would be glad if there were only 5 applicants for every job. There are about 5 applicants when we DON'T have an opening.

Re:Five applicants for every job (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955829)

Yeah, exactly. People get paranoid that if they don't get an interview that somebody must have seen that kegstand from Spring Break '08 but really it's just there were 500 other resumes on the stack and they only called back the kids from Stanford.

Re:Five applicants for every job (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44956169)

That's stupid. If you've got too many good applicants just pick a random subset to review and throw the rest in the bin. Once you find a good candidate you can stop reviewing. You don't need to make up reasons to reject everyone else.

is California the world? (1)

marxzed (1075971) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955753)

because If as an Australian I want to remove a post on a Japanese site I can get some embarrassing post scrubbed clean?

Re:is California the world? (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | 1 year,25 days | (#44956239)

No, its not the world. but if your a US citizen your bound by US law no matter what country your servers are. Now if that Japanese site is owned by an aussi. I would check with a lawyer he would know beat about Aussi law.

Wrong fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955783)

What's the point in setting up another legal framework and technical hurdles to overcome and whatnot, when the solution will be imperfect anyways. If society wants to decide that things you did before you turned 18 shouldn't matter much in your adult life, then perhaps we all just need to, you know, stop caring about googling up what people did as minors. So what if you're applying for a job at age 35 and someone pulls up some stupid shit you did when you were 16. Were they not also 16 once?

Re:Wrong fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955951)

What's the point in setting up another legal framework and technical hurdles to overcome and whatnot, when the solution will be imperfect anyways.

  • a. Politicians want to get re-elected so they make a law that shows they are "solving" the problem.
  • b. Nanny-staters get to increase the size of the government.
  • c. More jobs for lawyers.

Re:Wrong fix (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955965)

The culture will eventually obviate the need for such laws, but its going to be a rough transition. As a wiser man than me(Dan Savage) pointed out, admitting to smoking pot used to be a career killer, but the culture changed and it became more and more acceptable. Bill Clinton was the first to admit to using it at all, but he "didn't inhale". 16 years later Obama was asked the same question and said he did inhale, that was the entire point. Eventually posting youthful hijinks online will be the norm, just like trying pot.

However, as with any cultural shift, the "pioneers" are often the ones who get shafted. I feel bad for the generation born between roughly 1990 and 2005, they are young enough that their youthful digressions are often posted online, but not old enough to avoid the blowback from the older generation who refuses to admit that they once did stupid shit....However those born after 2005 or so will grow up in a world where sexting and posting stupid stuff you did while drunk is the accepted norm.

Time to have a gurantee job program for everyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955787)

ensure that everyone have a chance to succeed in their career. Their ability should not be hindered by distant past mistakes.

Funding? Oh that's right, the shareholders... (0)

brian.stinar (1104135) | 1 year,25 days | (#44955819)

Who will pay for this? Since the article did not mention, I assume that will be the owners of these companies. Unless California starts paying me for development, it's going to be kind of slow to add the ($_POSTED['state'] == 'CA' && $_POSTED['age] 18) { bunch of code...} to the sites I work on....

This is comical. Once it is on the web, it's OVER. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955873)

Don't believe me ?

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_nJxiG1cbAW4/S4wuXQNAyOI/AAAAAAAAGhc/bQk-jq4avIc/s640/nikki_catsouras_09.jpg

When they are managers (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955899)

will they be conditioned enough to do the same.

If you believe this (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44955947)

I have a bridge to sell you

Law will fail at first test (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44956013)

Just like the State 'laws' that mandated restrictions on the sales of video games, this 'law' will fail at the first hurdle. What kids do online is NOT the same as an official government record of the child's behaviour. Would Brook Shields (the actor) have the right to scrub ALL the films and TV shows she appeared in as a child, for instance (she performed as a child prostitute at age 12). The US supreme court does NOT treat online as any different from any other medium.

When a minor posts online, it is under the SAME contractual mechanism as when Shields appeared as a prostitute. Using 'free' services like Facebook is literally the same as giving a performance in a film. The exchange of value with Facebook is the fact they don't charge you to use their service. In Law, this has the same weight as the financial reward Shields or her guardians got for her film acting.

To prevent, say, Facebook arguing that they 'own' (non-exclusively) user content as a price for the user using their services would require tearing up the whole capitalist basis for corporate activities in the USA. An exception would be specific court action requiring the scrubbing of specific user content under specific legal circumstances pertaining to the individual. But such mechanisms already exist in the USA, and apply to all mediums.

The general right of users to break their contract with services like Facebook, even as minors, just because they want to, would set an unbearable precedent. Of course, a more successful approach would modify the form of contracts that minors are allowed to enter into, but again the problem here is that the law would NEVER allow online situations to be a special case. So such a law would impact negatively the output of minors in other situations, again like the afore-mentioned movies.

The right to be private EXPECTS a person to act privately- not for a person to act like a jackass in the most public way possible, and then demand a 1984-style revision of recorded history. Facebook and Hollywood could be forced by Law NOT to allow the output of minors to be used in their medium in the first place, but where goes one goes the other. Or Facebook and newspapers. Or Facebook and TV. Or Facebook and the records created by a students time at school (like the yearbook). Should a minor (or adult referring to his/her years as a minor) have the right to have every yearbook they appeared in located and destroyed? That is the EXACT SAME legal logic that this new law creates, and that is why this law stands exactly ZERO chance of surviving its first test.

Isn't Facebook 18+? (1)

Nyder (754090) | 1 year,25 days | (#44956039)

I thought FB was 18+ so minors shouldn't be on it anyways.

Re:Isn't Facebook 18+? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44956243)

13+. (My kid's account will be "legal" in just 2 more years.)

Re:Isn't Facebook 18+? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44956259)

I thought FB was 18+ so minors shouldn't be on it anyways.

No. [facebook.com]

Erase, erase, erase (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44956097)

And thus, instead of teaching our children to act responsibly, we can just erase their ferk ups with a simple click potentially hiding people with low moral values.

Sorry California (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | 1 year,25 days | (#44956159)

What if my website has no legal presence in USA? How do you apply your laws to me? Extradition for a state law, for something not illegal in my country?

Re:Sorry California (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | 1 year,25 days | (#44956279)

Doesn't matter. Your a US citizen your bound by US law no matter where your servers are. You allow kids on the site you got to scrub it when demanded to. having servers on other country's doesn't help US spammers or scammers. why would you be different?

So now Slashdot is illegal in California? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | 1 year,25 days | (#44956227)

So now Slashdot is illegal in California?

Because no one can delete comments.

Re:So now Slashdot is illegal in California? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44956405)

Sounds good to me. Maybe productivity will increase around these parts.

Piss in his pool (2)

Cyfun (667564) | 1 year,25 days | (#44956433)

Let's go piss in Jerry Brown's pool and watch him try to get it out.

Brilliant! (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | 1 year,25 days | (#44956507)

Why restrict this law to just Cyberspace? Sure, criminal records can be expunged, but what of the rest of reality?! What if someone else REMEMBERS seeing the stuff and writes about what you did? See? We must also erase the memories of everyone alive. NO, that would be too draconian, far more ethical is to wash the brain which did the deeds.

Excellent! I've been waiting for inroads to install wireless thought conveyance devices in the humans, but you have to install the implants while the neuro-plasticity is high... under 13, yes! This could be it! The hive mind could be made real! Soon, my Legions of infant minds will dominate the world! I will fool the powers that be by giving them a means to control the erasing of single minds -- They may not know what to call themselves, but as a whole, They will never forget! Expect them! Ha ha-- wait... deja vu? That only happens when I re-remember plans I purposefully forgot....hmm.

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