California’s bill CA AB 2273, designed to enact the Age-Appropriate Design Code (AADC) is just one among the bills raising concerns in terms of how they might negatively affect the web going forward.
Like their counterparts in the EU, legislators in California, according to their critics, present online child safety as their only goal – and a stated desire to improve this is hard to argue with, even when arguments are valid – such as that the proposed bills may in fact do nothing to better protect children, while eroding the rights of every internet user.
Among other things, AB 2273 aims to require sites and apps to authenticate the age of all their users before allowing access. Attempts to introduce mandatory age authentication have also cropped up in other jurisdictions before, but have proven controversial, technically difficult to implement, with a high potential to compromise user data collected in this way, and intrusive to people’s privacy.
In California, the situation doesn’t look much different as critics of this bill say that authentication will require site operators and businesses to deal with personal data collection from every user, and worry about using and storing it securely.
We obtained a copy of the bill for you here.
In addition, some kind of government-issued ID – or surrendering biometric data such as that collected through facial recognition – is necessary to prove one’s age in the first place; and this is where forcing sites and services to require this information would effectively mean the end of anonymity online.