California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act
Huge news: Platforms must factor in harms to children in their product design, or face fines and injunctions by California AG.
California lawmakers have passed the first law in the United States requiring tech companies to install guardrails for child users. The California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act passed on Monday July 29th with a vote of 33 to 0. The bill, which was introduced in February 2022, is a major indication that lawmakers are finally ready to ask the tech industry to consider the safety of users.
The Design Code asks that:
- Businesses that develop and provide online services, products, or features that children are likely to access should consider the best interests of children when designing, developing, and providing that online service, product, or feature.
- If a conflict arises between commercial interests and the best interests of children, companies should prioritize the privacy, safety, and well-being of children over commercial interests.
It will require companies to assess and assuage the damage that their products could potentially do to children— like exposing them to predators or addicting them with algorithms that lead to eating disorders. And it doesn’t only apply to tech products directed marketed at children, but rather “all online products and services they are likely to access”. The code authorizes the Attorney General to seek an injunction or civil penalty against a business that violates its provisions. The bill was inspired by the UK’s Age Appropriate Design Code which went in to effect in 2021.
We know that internet companies could stop the dissemination of child sexual abuse materials, but refuse to. You can take action collectively, with other survivors, to hold accountable tech companies that actually make money off of every click, share, like, download, upload. To read about C.A Goldberg, PLLC’s practice representing victims of Child Sexual Abuse Material, (CSAM) click here.
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