back to article Judge sides with Meta and Google, puts California child privacy law on hold

A federal judge in California has blocked the state's online kids' safety law from going into effect while a lawsuit brought by Meta, Google, and other tech giants moves through the courts. The California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act (CAADDCA aka AB 2273), signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom a year ago, was set to take …

  1. aerogems Silver badge
    Big Brother


    Imagine the chutzpah needed to sue over a law about protecting the privacy of children. Granted I'm sure it's a bit more nuanced if you look at the actual briefs from both sides, and there may well be some serious deficiencies with the law, but generally that would be a case where you would want to work with legislators to pass some new legislation that amends the original law to remedy some of those flaws, not sue to get the whole thing overturned. That just makes it seem like you want to be able to keep on harvesting PII from kids and selling it to anyone willing to meet your asking price. Which, I'm sure is exactly what Facebook, TikTok, and Google want to keep on doing. I'm sure Twitler's desperate enough for cash that he's willing to sell the info of any kids using the service. Amazon seems like an outlier, though I'm sure they see it as a threat to their voice assistant program.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Imagine

      Nah, it's a poorly written nebulous power-grab that has little to do with protecting the privacy of children, other than the name.

      My local hardware store website does not need age verification. Either it's going to be crap like a wine company site with "Are you over 18?" with yes/no buttons, or it's going to be even more invasive and want a credit card or driver's license number.

      And WTF does "act in the best interests of children" even mean? Can we any more nebulous and vague? If you're going to regulate something, you need to actually properly define it.

      I'm glad this is getting slapped down.

      Fuck off, California.

      1. aerogems Silver badge

        Re: Imagine

        Let me guess. Another person who's never been within 100 miles of California, but thinks they're an expert on how the state should be run because of something a disembodied voice on AM radio said.

        Facebook, TikTok, and Google's entire business models are based around harvesting personal info about people, and they've all been smacked around before because they were intentionally targeting kids. Amazon at least has a business selling stuff and is probably getting dragged along for the ride on this one.

        1. prh99

          Re: Imagine

          "Let me guess. Another person who's never been within 100 miles of California, but thinks they're an expert on how the state should be run because of something a disembodied voice on AM radio said."

          Cause heaven forbid anyone have an opinion contrary to yours...

          1. aerogems Silver badge

            Re: Imagine

            That's a lot of words to say "Correct"

            1. prh99

              Re: Imagine

              No, it's a few words to acknowledge that you were nothing but dismissive and then proceeded to repeated part of your original point. You didn't address any of the criticism or indeed anything said in their reply.

          2. aerogems Silver badge

            Re: Imagine

            Getting pretty tired of these guys walking around in cowboy hats and cowboy boots. You ever see these jack-offs? Can’t we kill some of these motherfuckers? Walking around in a fucking cowboy hat. Grown men. It’s not even Halloween for christ-sakes. I say “hey Tex grow up and get yourself a wardrobe consistent with the century you’re living in”. Why do certain men feel the need to dress up as mythic figures? You don’t see anyone walking around in a pirate costume do you? When was the last guy you ran into who had on a viking outfit? Make-believe cowboys… the closest they ever got to a cow is when they stopped to take a piss at an Arby’s.

            -- George Carlin

            1. prh99

              Re: Imagine

              "Let people do what they need to do to make them happy. Mind your own business, and do what you need to do to make you happy."--Leon Brown

              or maybe

              "I don't know how people get so anti-something. Just mind your own business, take care of your own affairs, and don't worry about other people so much."--Betty White

        2. Grogan Bronze badge

          Re: Imagine

          What? That's the point, we're hundreds, or even thousands of miles away form California. You don't have any right to dictate what webmasters around the world are going to do... period. If California doesn't like the way the internet works, they are more than welcome to firewall themselves off and start their own State network like China and North Korea. We won't miss your whining.

    2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: Imagine

      Summary: "Won't somebody please think of the children?"

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Imagine

      It's an abysmal law, and there's no justification for defending it. You're not on the side of the angels here.

      1. aerogems Silver badge

        Re: Imagine

        I think maybe you need to get your prescription checked, because you seem to be seeing words that aren't there.

  2. Mayday Silver badge

    Fuck me

    "NetChoice, an internet trade association whose members include Amazon, Google, Meta, TikTok and Twitter,"

    There's an Unholy Trinity (Quinternity?) If I ever saw one.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Fuck me

      Doesn't mean they're not right.

    2. Claptrap314 Silver badge


      makes strange bedfellows...

  3. hoola Silver badge


    Sadly I suspect this is more down to money.

    Money rules and corporations like this have boat load so as they have repeatedly done over the years, can buy or influence pretty much anything that they perceive may harm them.

    The only thing that will do anything to curb these people is regulation at national and international levels.

    In reality the only one that possibly has any hope is the EU, the US is never going do anything about the way a very rich corporation runs it's operations.

    1. prh99

      Re: Money

      Lawyer aren't cheap, but it wouldn't matter. The 1st Amendment is the problem all these think of the children bills have.

      It's was what sunk most of the Communications Decency Act and the majority of COPPA. The precedent has been there

      for decades, you can't interfere with the constitutional rights of the public and businesses with burdensome and intrusive requirements to protect children.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Money

        Yes, the law is almost certainly unconstitutional. But it's a terrible idea regardless.

        There's no practical way to do online age verification without tremendous damage to privacy. (There are cryptographic information-concealing schemes that could avoid directly revealing PII beyond a proof of under/over 18, but only under generous assumptions, and they'd still be vulnerable to de-anonymization through correlation with other data.) People trumpeting the think-of-the-children line while breaking everyone else's privacy can fuck right off, in my opinion.

      2. MrDamage Silver badge

        Re: Money

        A business is not a person, and thus the 1st should not apply to them. Shame corrupt judges decided to whore themselves out to billionaires.

    2. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: Money

      Money they got, in part, by harvesting personal information from young children and then selling it to anyone willing to meet their asking price. Who knows what the Chinese government has done with data exfiltrated by Bytedance. Probably something far less nefarious than the heavy breathing conspiracy theorist would imagine, but we don't really know one way or the other.

  4. TheMeerkat

    You don’t “protect privacy” by making people to share their identity and provide documents before they can post anything on your website.

    1. ChoHag Silver badge

      Exposure is privacy, comrade.

    2. trindflo Bronze badge

      Positive identification doesn't protect privacy

      Yes, that is the primary problem with any of these "save the children" bills. I think there is a market for a closed system where everyone is positively identified, but it isn't the internet we all know and <cough> love.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Positive identification doesn't protect privacy

        Perhaps we need two Internets - one where each user's identity is carefully confirmed (but not necessarily known by other users), and another where everyone is entirely anonymous. General email and social media belong in the first one, as that would prevent a lot of sock puppets and fraud. Anonymous messages (ex. between journalists and sources), any website that doesn't need a login (that's most of them), etc. belong in the second one.


        Phone systems (like VOIP) would be solidly in the first one. There is no excuse whatsoever for caller ID to be spoofable, especially by VOIP.

  5. Sherrie Ludwig

    This may be too little, too late

    There is really no way short of a certified birth certificate to prove someone's age. A driver's license contains that info, but over the internet a fake one will look as good as a real one, or how do you keep a kid from simply pulling it out of mom's purse to show? The idea to set an age bar is laudable, but like many great ideas, not enforceable over the internet in any reasonable way.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: This may be too little, too late

      How do you keep a kid from using an adult's account, full stop? It's a stupid, stupid law.

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