California law restricting companies’ use of information from kids online is halted by federal judge

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A federal judge has halted the implementation of a California law intended to restrict companies’ use of information collected from young people who use the Internet to prevent sexual harassment. privacy of minors.

US District Judge Beth Labson Freeman on Monday issued a preliminary injunction, saying the law prevents companies from using the internet in ways that the state cannot justify.

The law would require businesses to report to the state any product or service they offer online that might be accessible to those under 18, and provide plans to reduce it. any harm that small children may suffer. It would also prohibit businesses from collecting many types of personal information about young internet users, including their physical locations.

“The State has no right to enforce obligations to force private companies to become public institutions,” Freeman wrote.

The judge wrote that, although he is “aware of the many harms that children can experience online,” the law classifies for-profit businesses for restrictions that do not apply. to other users, such as government agencies or organizations.

The legislation by Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks, a Democrat from Oakland, was passed last year and is due to take effect in July 2024.

It was challenged by NetChoice, a business association that includes Google, Amazon, Meta and TikTok. In a statement to the San Francisco ChronicleNetChoice attorney Chris Marchese hailed the judge’s decision “to prevent regulators from infringing on the free speech and online rights of Californians, their families and their businesses in the process.” our subject.”

Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office expressed disappointment with the decision and declined to comment further. The state may appeal the order to the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, the Chronicle said.

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