Nov 052011
 November 5, 2011  Posted by  Laws, Online, Youth & Schools

Over on, Stewart Baker uses Danah Boyd’s new study on under-age kids signing up for Facebook with their parents collaboration to lambast COPAA. He writes, in part:

Teaching kids to lie isn’t exactly a government policy to be proud of.  But federal law has another unintended legal consequence in store for those parents and kids.  As Orin Kerr and I have pointed out, Facebook users who violate the site’s terms of service also violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, at least according to the Justice Department. Which would make every one of those parents and children guilty of a federal misdemeanor.

By my count, that’s well over ten million misdemeanors, not to mention ten million privacy victims.

Now, you might ask, “Who the hell is the government to take away the decision whether my kids can join Facebook?”  Actually, most parents feel exactly this way.  When the study asked them who should have the final say about whether or not their child should be able to use online services, 93% chose the parents, 3% opted for the company providing the service, 2% chose the government, and  2% would leave the decision to the child.

So how did we end up with an online regime that is this intrusive, stupid, and unpopular?

It wasn’t easy.  It took a lot of lobbying, and the story may help explain why we have so many stupid privacy rules.

Read more on The Volokh Conspiracy.


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