California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act Passes Senate 30-0

The ‘impossibly to comply with’ California Age-Appropriate Design Code has passed the California Senate.

Over the weekend, we covered the California Age-Appropriate Design Code. It’s a bill that apparently requires significant paperwork supposedly in an effort to ‘protect the children’. A website that could theoretically be accessed by someone who is under the age of 18 must verify the age of children before they are allowed to access the website. Mike Masnick of Techdirt has described the legislation as ‘impossible to comply with’.

It seems that developments are happening quickly with this story. We are learning that the legislation has passed the California Senate unopposed. In a vote of 30-0, AB 2273 has passed the senate stage. From here, the legislation will now head over to the desk of California governor Gavin Newsom. At this point, the next opportunity to stop this legislation is to beg the governor to veto the legislation. Otherwise, it will be up to the courts to quash the enforcement of this bill. Masnick, while discussing two other pieces of legislation that also passed, described the developments as frustrating:

Unfortunately, last night, the California Senate passed some horribly dangerous bills that we’ve been warning about the past few weeks — and they’re heading to Governor Newsom’s desk for signing. It seems likely he will sign them, even as that will be a huge, and dangerous mistake. First up was AB 2273 the “Age Appropriate Design Code” that we’ve been calling attention to over the past week. The bill has massive problems, is literally impossible to comply with, was written in part by a UK Baroness with ties to Hollywood, will only serve to benefit privacy lawyers and a giant porn company, and could lead to websites requiring a facial scan for access (and that’s according to the bill’s supporters!). It’s a bad bill.

But no politician wants to hand political opponents the talking point of “and s/he voted against a bill to protect the children online!” And thus… the bill passed 30 to 0. Not a single Senator voted against it.

And, now you can bet that other states — including Texas and Florida — will model their own internet-attacking bills on these California bills as well.

It’s not good.

It’s frustrating and exhausting beyond all belief that California is doing this. And that there have been very, very few voices speaking up about it. It’s that kind of apathy that lets these bills sail through.

These sudden developments are, indeed, surprising given what California has done in the past. After all, California has been leading the charge to restore network neutrality – even fighting for it successfully through the courts so far. You’d think that a state that understands the importance of network neutrality would know the importance of not creating overly broad bills that could shut down every website in the state in the process.

Apparently, that isn’t the case.

So, now, as more and more website owners in the state learn of these new laws, they realize that they are now legally precarious in their dealings just by the fact that they own a website. Apart from a veto and legal action, there is the idea of moving their website out of state. Perhaps some could move to Kentucky so they can hang out with Drew Curtis or something, but who knows.

Still, these latest developments are rather unnerving to say the least.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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