In an effort to protect them from suffering for mistakes made earlier in life, a new California law will require Internet companies to remove online activity from their services if a minor requests.
The law, signed Monday by California Gov. Jerry Brown, is scheduled to go into effect in 2015 and will help minors when doing things like applying for jobs as employers will no longer be able to find embarrassing information someone might have posted before turning 18.
The law does have a few loopholes: Companies won’t need to remove any data from their servers — they’ll just need to take it offline — and it only covers photos, data or other online activity generated by the requesting individuals.
Minors won’t be able to force companies to pull information posted or reposted by others.
“Kids so often self-reveal before they self-reflect,” said James Steyer, founder of Common Sense Media, a nonprofit group in San Francisco that advocated for the law, in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. “Mistakes can stay with teens for life, and their digital footprint can follow them wherever they go.”
Called the “eraser law,” the legislation will ensures sites can offer ways for users to make the redaction directly or provide an avenue for users to request one.