California lawmaker wants to regulate social network sites

Senate Majority Leader Ellen M. Corbett (D-San Leandro) is making a second attempt to regulate social network websites, including Facebook and Twitter, amid privacy concerns.

With support from Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, Corbett has introduced a bill that would require the websites to remove personal identifying information on minors upon the request of their parents, and allow adults to have their own information taken down.

“Unsuspecting children and teenagers are oftentimes prime targets for online predators that use these sites to prey on vulnerable young people,’’ Corbett said in a statement. 

A similar but broader bill by Corbett failed to win approval in 2011 after aggressive lobbying against it by a coalition of firms, including Google, Facebook and Twitter.

A Facebook spokesman declined comment this week, saying the firm had not seen the bill language. In 2011, the industry argued the first measure was unnecessary and would violate the U.S. Constitution by improperly restricting interstate commerce and curbing free speech.

Corbett’s new bill refines the list of information for which removal can be demanded to include addresses, telephone numbers, Social Security numbers, bank account numbers and credit card numbers.

“This common-sense legislation gives users of social networking sites, including parents of children, the tools to more effectively protect themselves and their families,” Corbett said in the statement on her SB 501.

Baca said he supports the legislation because it can reduce Internet-related crime.

"As a law enforcement officer, I strongly support legislation like this that will minimize the potential of child predators getting the information of children from these online sites,” the sheriff said in a statement.


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