They can only delete certain posts, not their entire Web history
Remember the neuralyzer tool in “Men in Black” that erased a person’s memory with a simple flash? Well, that hasn’t been developed yet, but a new California law may have that effect on the digital past of teens.
A new bill authored by State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) was signed by California Gov. Jerry Brown yesterday, creating a law that will force internet companies to delete certain content posted by California teens online if they request it.
Facebook, Twitter and other social networks have become prominent places to speak your mind online, but the problem is that this data is stored by Web companies and can follow a person around for a long time. For instance, a questionable photo on Facebook could be the deciding factor on whether an employer hires you, if they happen to be searching your digital footprint.
But the new California law doesn’t just wipe a person’s slate clean if they choose not to have a digital history any longer. Some rules attached to the new law are that the person must be under 18 years old in order to make a request, and they can’t just have everything they’ve ever posted deleted from the internet forever; they have to choose specific regrettable photos or posts.
In addition, if someone other than the person making the request posted the photo or other content, it cannot be deleted (unless the person who posted it makes the request).
If you’re a California adult who made a questionable photo or post as a minor, you cannot make requests. What’s done is done once you pass 18.
Web companies may find the new law difficult when it comes to creating new services (especially those that target minors), and they’ll have to take the state of California into special account when it comes to new policies.
However, teens interviewed by SFGate seem to be happy about the new law — as long as they can keep their friends from posting any questionable content about them.
The law goes into effect come 2015.
Just last week, it was reported that a Glendale, California school district is hiring a contractor to keep an eye on the social networks of its students in order to find odd behavior and intercept.