SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The state Senate passed a bill Thursday that would allow parents to remove their children's personal information from social networking sites, over the objection of Facebook and other tech companies that say it would be impossible to implement.
Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-Hayward, said her SB501 gives parents the right to protect their children by removing addresses, telephone numbers, Social Security numbers, and bank or credit card account information. The bill applies to children under age 18.
Her bill passed 23-10 and moves to the Assembly.
In an opposition letter signed by Facebook Inc., Google Inc., Zynga Inc., Tumblr and others, the companies described Corbett's bill as unnecessary. They said it would require a social networking website to validate a minor's identity and age within 96 hours or face a $10,000 fine.
"This law would be extremely burdensome for startup social networking sites that lack the resources to process such requests," the letter stated.
A gay-rights group, The Trevor Project, also warned that the bill could prevent young people from accessing support services if they face family rejection. The project is a West Hollywood-based crisis center that helps lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth by providing a social networking community.
Corbett said her bill does not regulate content or infringe upon free speech rights.
She said the legislation doesn't just protect children but also allows adults to protect themselves from stalking, identify theft and other crimes by letting them request the removal of private information. Other information that can be removed under the bill includes driver's license numbers, state identification numbers, employee identification numbers and mother's maiden name.
"This information should not be available and posted on the Internet," Corbett said before Thursday's vote. "It would allow stalker to know where an adult or child physically is living and even provide a direct opportunity for a criminal to commit identity theft."
Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, said he opposed the bill because verification would be too burdensome for social networking companies to verify a user and his or her parent.
"I know for a fact that this bill is not fully cooked," Anderson said.
While the bill passed mostly on party lines, Sen. Jerry Hill, a Democrat from San Mateo, voted no, and several Democrats abstained from the vote.
The bill is supported by law enforcement groups such as the California State Sheriff's Association and the Peace Officers Research Association of California. It also has support from child abuse prevention groups.