Minnesota Wants to Ban Under-18s From User-Generated Content Services

Eric Goldman:

As part of an omnibus bill, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed a troubling bill restricting how under-18 users engage with user-generated content (UGC) services. [At the bottom of this post, I’ve included the text as passed by the Minnesota House] The bill fits the “protect-the-kids” narrative that politicians champion during election years, but it’s counterproductive towards that purported goal. If regulated services can determine who is under-18 (spoiler: they cannot), the bill would likely result in Minnesota minors being excluded entirely from UGC websites–depriving them of the opportunity to build communities and access content they need to grow, learn, and flourish. By freezing under-18 out of large swathes of the Internet, the bill would create a generation of digitally naïve adults–the exact opposite of the skills they, and our society, need to thrive in the 21st century. Furthermore, the age authentication process would expose both under-18s and adults to extra privacy and security risks. So instead of “protecting the kids,” the bill would harm Minnesotans of all ages in countless ways.

Leave a Reply