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'Eraser' Law Will Let California Kids Scrub Online Past 266

Posted by samzenpus
from the never-happened dept.
gregor-e writes "The first-of-its-kind 'eraser button' law, signed Monday by Governor Jerry Brown, will force social media titans such as Facebook, Twitter and Google let minors scrub their personal online history in the hopes that it might help them avoid personal and work-related problems. The law will take effect on January 1, 2015."
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'Eraser' Law Will Let California Kids Scrub Online Past

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @10:10PM (#44955545)
    A new California law will require local bars to eliminate any alcohol consumed by minors from their bodies on demand. Supporters say this new law will reduce the amount of drunk-driving and poor decisions made by drunk minors. It might help them avoid personal and work-related problems.
    • by jandersen (462034)

      On the face of it, it just looks ridiculous, of course. But that is often the case, when you are the first one to stand up and demand something. I don't know about America, but in my life time, I have seen several times that some pimply-faced youth has stood up for some issue that sounds stupid, pompous and completely out of touch - only to see that person become someone that you have to take serious some years later. So, don't underestimate this - it is about showing leadership, something that is so often

      • It's not crazy. Even if actually scrubbing all parts of your childhood actions from the internet is impossible, it can be made somewhat harder to seek out. This would send a signal to those who dig nonetheless, that what they're doing isn't OK. Especially not if they're employers. Legislation can't stop everyone from doing it, but it can help make it the norm to not do it.

      • by TapeCutter (624760) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @05:38AM (#44957645) Journal
        Clinton famously said "I tried it in collage, but did not inhale", to paraphrase Gore Vidal, who knew Clinton personally at the time - "It's true he didn't inhale, but what he doesn't tell is the recipe for his cookies".
      • by nospam007 (722110) *

        "I suspect most people do, actually - we have all done one or two things in our youth, that we'd rather not be reminded of; the difference is that we didn't have access to a Facebook or some other forum where your social skidmarks are going to stick around for ever."

        Think of it as evolution in action.

        Stupidity has to get bred out of the gene-pool.

    • by mpe (36238)
      A new California law will require local bars to eliminate any alcohol consumed by minors from their bodies on demand. Supporters say this new law will reduce the amount of drunk-driving and poor decisions made by drunk minors. It might help them avoid personal and work-related problems.

      Maybe a simpler option would be only to allow adults to drive.
    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      Contrary to what many people seem to think; you are not that important.
      Erasing your existance from Facebook will likely work and you were probably not important enough for the information that was posted about you to have been copied outside Facebook. For most people, a simple erase button will remove anything bad an employee might be able to find. Especially if Google, Twitter and a few other major sites also have these "erase" buttons.

    • Not seeing the problem here? Account self-destruct buttons are trivial to implement and should be at the discretion of the user, even if the user is an old fart like me. I think it would be unreasonable to expect companies to wipe the information from back-up tapes, just deleting the account should suffice for this purpose, if not the NSA have their own backups anyway. .
  • Contest (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Can somebody here write a cgi script (soon to come in handy) to detect which IPs are from California and ask for confirmation that they are indeed at least 18 years old? Sorry, CA teenagers, you're not coming on MY site. You know, in the same way COPPA effectively made 13 the internet age...

    • Re:Contest (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @11:53PM (#44956197)
      The following is why this law is bogus. I know politicians have been trying to change this, but they have no actual, legal authority to do so:

      Historically, and continuing to the present the courts -- on up to the Supreme Court -- have ruled that when any kind of "transaction" is taking place, it takes place in the state of the place of business of the vendor. (That's why states can't charge a company sales tax unless the company has "a substantial physical presence" in that state.)

      This legal precedent goes back more than 150 years, to the days when mail-order began to become big business. And note: internet sales (memberships, subscriptions, etc.) ARE nothing but mail-order. The only thing that has changed is the method of payment (credit card, Paypal, viewing online advertising).

      The point here is: when you visit a website, legally the website is not coming to you, YOU are going THERE. It cannot, as a practical matter, work any other way because there is simply no way a given website can know all the local laws everywhere.

      So if you have a website in Poughkeepsie, Gov. Jerry Brown has no legal authority to tell you what you can and cannot do with your website. He can tell you that you can't make sales in California. But other than that, he can't dictate what you do. Legally, Californians are visiting YOU, not the other way around.
      • I should add: any attempt to mess with this arrangement runs smack up against State sovereignty problems. There are many, many, many decades of legal precedent over this stuff.

        And the Feds might have the power to "regulate" (which means "to keep regular... not to ban or dictate) interstate trade, but that doesn't mean they have authority to tell someone what they can do in their own state, which is what mail-order (and websites) do.

        Brown is trying to pull something akin to those Federal judges who tri
        • by whoever57 (658626)

          And the Feds might have the power to "regulate" (which means "to keep regular... not to ban or dictate) interstate trade, but that doesn't mean they have authority to tell someone what they can do in their own state, which is what mail-order (and websites) do.

          I'm sorry, but that boat sailed away a long time ago. If the feds can control what you grow on your own land for consumption by your own family, or can control your rights to grow your own weed for medicianl purposes, then the effect of the commerce

          • That decision happened a long time ago, but that boat never sailed. There are lots of states, TODAY, pushing back and saying "bullshit".

            Without State support, the Feds are standing in the toilet holding the wires.
      • Re:Contest (Score:5, Insightful)

        by vux984 (928602) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @12:38AM (#44956469)

        The following is why this law is bogus. [...] Historically, and continuing to the present the courts -- on up to the Supreme Court -- have ruled that when any kind of "transaction" is taking place, it takes place in the state of the place of business of the vendor

        Yes yes, all true.

        So if you have a website in Poughkeepsie, Gov. Jerry Brown has no legal authority to tell you what you can and cannot do with your website.

        Yes, but what if you are in California?

        Facebook Inc: 1601 Willow Rd Menlo Park, CA 94025
        Google Inc, Mountain View, CA
        Apple: 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA, 95014
        Twitter: 1355 Market St, San Francisco, CA, 94103
        MySpace: 349 - 8391 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 90048

        I'm sensing a trend here.

        Microsoft: Ok... that one is based in Redmond, WA
        But they have offices:
        here: 100 - 300 Capitol Mall, Sacramento, CA, 95814
        here: 700 - 835 Market Street, San Franciso, CA, 94103
        and here: 1065 La Avenida, Mountain View, CA, 94043

        Care to explain again why this law is bogus?

      • The law on "long arm jurisdiction" is a real treat for people who like Fizzbin.

    • Can somebody here write a cgi script (soon to come in handy) to detect which IPs are from California and ask for confirmation that they are indeed at least 18 years old?

      That's simple, but I'm against "one size fits all" CGI "scripts" (since they don't exist), and also my CGI is not scripted, it's compiled C code. It's quite an easy bit of logic: In addition to the age verification for 13 year olds, simply also ask their state of origin. If they check the box:
      [_] I am a resident of California, or am connecting ultimately from California (regardless of proxy).
      Then you simply add five years to the output age from your date checking.

      That way, you can be sure they're old enough to use your services. What I've discovered about my website visitors is that those who are not my target demographic for games forums (18-35) are octogenarians with severe potty-mouths! Some said this method was suspect, so I allowed the users to enter the actual year of their birth instead of drop-down boxes. The results were Astounding! Those that are not 18-35 are now 80% likely to be Ancient Ones who've lived for over two thousand years! I'm not an ageist, so I don't discriminate against those timeless immortals by denying them access. XxHalo343xX celebrated her 2013th birthday the same day she signed up, far be it from me to spoil her special day.

      Additionally, a far rarer but greatly more mind-blowing fact is that there are time travelers among us from as early as 2038! Now, I'm not racist or sexist and I see no reason to block the chrono-displaced due to a mere CGI program oversight, so we welcome these visitors as well. I'm sure the regulations for operating a time machine ensure far more responsibility than merely deciding to say stuff on the Internet... Despite our prying, they remain tight lipped about the future, revealing only that global warming will cause another ice age, and that the PRISM leaks were caused by one of their ilk: Snowden? It seems so obvious in retrospect! Where else would you live during an ice age? Besides, I'm of the opinion that rather than inconvenience the entire space-time continuum, parents could simply be actual parents and monitor their kids' time-traveling activities if they're concerned.

      It light of my recent discoveries I plan to change the date-based age verifier with a single simple checkbox:
      [_] I am at least 13 years old, Not an enemy of the (current) USA, am 18 years of age if hailing from present-day California, and want cookies.

      Surely you don't need a "contest" to write code that verifies if a single boolean value is true?

      if ( 0 > false && G_theCheckBox > -1 || true < 0 ) { /*...*/ }
      Blam! You're welcome. Even handles both negative and positive values of 'true' and 'false'!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @10:12PM (#44955557)

    If they let minors do this, why not everyone?

    • by houstonbofh (602064) on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @10:46PM (#44955789)

      If they let minors do this, why not everyone?

      The better question is "How do you scrub something off the Internet?" Barbra Streisand wants to know...

      • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @11:18PM (#44955985)

        Even more interesting is how this will play out with caches of sites. By that I mean, site A has the eraser button in place, and everything works fine and dandy. Site B keeps caches, but doesn't let minors/users from California access it. Site B caches site A and maintains the "un-ersaed" data from the original site.

        Both sites therefore work within the letter of the law, yet the information is still online.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          Depends what they intend to let you erase. If it is modelled on the EU "right to be forgotten" then it would simply allow someone to permanently delete their social media profiles and associated data, site accounts, form accounts and so forth. Things like newspaper articles or blog posts about their antics would be immune. Caches of social media content would have to be asked to remove the data on copyright grounds, just like they do today.

          The point is not to scrub your personal history, at least in the EU'

        • Why so complicated? Simply have a site outside California and/or US. So long as they have no presence in California they have no need to implement an erase button.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @11:29PM (#44956067)

        If there was a way to scrub Barbra Streisand from history I think everyone would want to know that.

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        If they let minors do this, why not everyone?

        The better question is "How do you scrub something off the Internet?" Barbra Streisand wants to know...

        First, it applies to minors as it's assumed they can't really be held responsible for their posts - given you can't delete anything on the internet, they may not realize what you post today may haunt them in the far future. Also, privacy options are so complex that it can be hard to understand.

        Second, the law merely says that a minor's post are to be made privat

      • by mpe (36238)
        The better question is "How do you scrub something off the Internet?" Barbra Streisand wants to know...

        The NSA wants to be sure they can collect all "tried to erase this" metadata. (Together with the original data in the unlikely event that Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc will actually really delete it.)
    • by swillden (191260)

      If they let minors do this, why not everyone?

      You mean, like the way you can delete your Twitter, Facebook and Google+ posts today? Assuming this is about social media like the summary implies, this law irrelevant, because you can already do it. I suppose it might prevent the social sites from taking the ability to delete stuff away, but it's not clear why they'd ever do that anyway.

  • If people post stuff on an online social media site, aren't they giving permission to publish it online? Can they really revoke that permission later? Aren't there First Amendment issues here? If I have a blog site with a public comments section, am I legally obligated to maintain that site forever so I can delete comments whenever someone turns 18 and demands it be deleted?
    • If people post stuff on an online social media site, aren't they giving permission to publish it online? Can they really revoke that permission later? Aren't there First Amendment issues here? If I have a blog site with a public comments section, am I legally obligated to maintain that site forever so I can delete comments whenever someone turns 18 and demands it be deleted?

      What about if the screen shots are printed in an art book? Must the book be burned on demand?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by superwiz (655733)

        If people post stuff on an online social media site, aren't they giving permission to publish it online?

        Minor cannot legally enter into a contract. By the virtue of this, they cannot give legally binding consent to anything.

        • Right, and there was a time when any site that did anything similar to what facebook does, they'd have a disclaimer up front that you had to be 18 to have an account. But facebook and others have wantently ignore the very obvious fact that the majority of their users are under age. Well you can't have a legally binding contract with a Tween. Fuck them.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @11:06PM (#44955909)

          Minors can enter into contracts. There are just different rules.

          http://nationalparalegal.edu/public_documents/courseware_asp_files/domesticRelations/FamilyRelationships/Contracts.asp

        • by rahvin112 (446269) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @01:14AM (#44956631)

          Minors most certainly can enter into a contract. That contract is legally binding against the company but the minor has the ability to walk away from the contract with no penalty.

          It is a significant difference because the minor can enforce the contract if they want. This is precisely why most business refuse to execute a contract with a minor, it puts the minor, or their guardian, in a preferential position in the contract allowing them to walk away penalty free when it's not in their favor or to enforce the contract when it is.

          If minors couldn't execute contracts business wouldn't even bother saying they don't contract with minors because any contract signed would be invalid. The problem is that the minor decides if it's valid or not which means the business has to say explicitly that they won't contract with minors and require disclosure of age. This gives them an out to cancel the contract in the event the minor lies, or in other words it takes away the ability of the minor to enforce contracts that are unfairly in favor of the minor.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      > If people post stuff on an online social media site, aren't they giving permission to publish it online?

      Minors cannot enter into contracts. They cannot assign the right to redistribute the works to which they own copyright.

      > Can they really revoke that permission later?

      Yep. Because they cannot enter into contracts in the first place.

      > Aren't there First Amendment issues here?

      Nope, FB can say that so and so signed up and posted stuff... but they cant say what it was since the minors own the copy

      • Nope, FB can say that so and so signed up and posted stuff... but they cant say what it was since the minors own the copyright and *cant enter into a contract* to allow FB to repost it.

        So minors can own copyright, but they can't enter into contracts? Well, that makes complete sense...

    • by rolfwind (528248)

      If people post stuff on an online social media site, aren't they giving permission to publish it online?

      That sounds like a contract. Last time I checked, you had to be of legal age to enter into a contract.

    • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @11:08PM (#44955927) Homepage

      TL;DR: Yes, yes, no, probably not.

      I am not a lawyer, I am certainly not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice. I just read a lot of laws, and have far too many lawyer friends for my own good...

      aren't they giving permission to publish it online? Can they really revoke that permission later?

      Per the conditions of your site's Terms of Service (you do have them, don't you?), the content your users give you may or may not be retained, retransmitted, adapted, or whatever else. By using the site, your users agree to that and grant you permission. Those terms govern what you can do with what you're given. For example, Slashdot's terms [slashdotmedia.com] say that by commenting, you're giving them permission to publish your comments indefinitely, in pretty much any form they want. Under Slashdot's terms, that permission cannot be rescinded.

      Minors are special [nolo.com]. Despite the apparent common opinion here, they can enter into a contract... they just usually can't be forced to uphold their end of it [nolo.com]. As far as copyright permission goes, this means you probably are already under a legal obligation to remove it if they want, because they can choose to void the contract giving you the permission... but to make you do that, the minor would have to realize the intricacies of contract law, realize that they still have exclusive copyright over their posting, and figure out how to contact you to request removal.

      California's law requires an accessible way to remove (or request the removal of) a minor's own posting, that stops whatever's deleted from being published further. It's practically irrelevant, since most sites already have such a function... the problem is that it's hard to find, and people don't use it nearly as quickly as they should. The law only requires that such a function be "clear". Good luck with that.

      Aren't there First Amendment issues here?

      The First Amendment has no real part in this. The First Amendment is between you and the government, only. It does not come into play in contracts between you and a web site operator, unless the operator is a government entity itself. That might involve the First Amendment, but I doubt it will be a significant issue.

      am I legally obligated to maintain that site forever

      The law doesn't have any time limit built into it, so time limits will be up to the courts to decide, but the law also doesn't require you to actually erase the data. You're only forbidden from retransmitting it, so if your site has a self-service delete button, that's probably fine. If you take your whole site offline, nobody can get to it, so that's probably fine, too. Bringing it back later with all the old content intact is riskier. The exact type of site also matters, because the law only comes into effect if you know that minors are using it. A forum dedicated to the latest teen heartthrobs would obviously fall into that category, but a forum for discussing do-it-yourself RV repairs probably wouldn't.

      I highly recommend reading the actual text [ca.gov] of the law. The first part is prohibiting certain advertisements toward minors, but the erasure part starts at section 22581. As with all legal text, realize that it's written to cover as much as possible, so try to ignore the repetition and it becomes much easier to read.

      • There are roughly 400 nations connected to the internet. Only a part of one of those comes up with a law. Granted, it's one of the "bigger" ones when it comes to internet presence and hosting services, but it's not a majority any way you look at it. If stuff these kids do happens to be stored by a non US company on a non US server, they have exactly no US constitutional, or CA state jurisdiction whatsoever.

        Given the fact that a lot of companies are now very aware of the way the USA government treats data t

      • by BitterOak (537666)

        The First Amendment has no real part in this. The First Amendment is between you and the government, only. It does not come into play in contracts between you and a web site operator, unless the operator is a government entity itself. That might involve the First Amendment, but I doubt it will be a significant issue.

        If you read the original article, it says that California passed a law saying that social media sites must delete content posted by minors on request. Since it's a law, presumably these sites can be prosecuted under those laws, and they are prosecuted by the government. So I do think there is a serious First Amendment issue here. If you give a quote to a newspaper reporter, and that newspaper includes your quote in an article they publish, and the newspaper is later prosecuted for distributing that newspa

        • Since it's a law, presumably these sites can be prosecuted under those laws, and they are prosecuted by the government.

          Only if the site is in California. This is why laws passed by one country, or bit of a country, cannot regulate the internet.

          • Since it's a law, presumably these sites can be prosecuted under those laws, and they are prosecuted by the government.

            Only if the site is in California. This is why laws passed by one country, or bit of a country, cannot regulate the internet.

            As someone has already pointed out, they can't regulate the internet, but they can regulate facebook . . .

            And no, incorporating in Delaware or the Cayman Islands won't change that. I already tried it to get out of speeding tickets, didn't work.

  • by LurkerXXX (667952) on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @10:13PM (#44955573)

    Will someone in California please let Jerry Brown know that the internet never forgets?

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Will someone in California please let Jerry Brown know that the internet never forgets?

      Since when has reality ever factored in when politicians try to legislate technological issues they don't understand and can't control?

      As well intentioned as it is, between jurisdictional issues and technical issues ... you just can't hope to make this work.

      Kind of like do-not-call lists and rules which require spam to identify itself as spam and give you a way to unsubscribe. People just ignore them too.

  • I, for one, would welcome those companies moving all their remaining business here. They make most of their money on the stock market, anyway. About time they spent most of their money in New York, too. It's a win-win for California. This way California politicians won't have to worry about how to enforce the law. They can blame the lack of enforcement on the fact that Cali is no longer solvent.
  • by Urza9814 (883915) on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @10:27PM (#44955683)

    I'd prefer a way to unerase the stuff I did as a minor. There's some info I once had on MySpace that I'd kinda like back, but apparently they wiped all of that... :(

    • Wayback machine?
      • by Urza9814 (883915)

        Hmm. Not a bad option for some of it, but that obviously won't capture private messages and such.

    • I'd prefer a way to unerase the stuff I did as a minor. There's some info I once had on MySpace that I'd kinda like back, but apparently they wiped all of that... :(

      Dude. You're a little behind the times. Blink tags don't work [pcworld.com] anymore.

  • by artor3 (1344997) on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @10:28PM (#44955689)

    No doubt many Slashdotters will trip over each other in their rush to proclaim that this will never work, insisting that the internet never forgets, and maybe mentioning the Streisand effect.

    But the point isn't to erase the past entirely. Just to make it not so obvious. For example, a certain Republican presidential candidate used to have a "Google problem" [wikipedia.org]. Now, maybe that problem was well deserved given his policy positions, but he wanted to erase it. He didn't need it to disappear from the internet entirely, which would be impossible in any case, he just wanted it to not be the top result when someone searched his name.

    It seems both possible and beneficial to allow young adults to bury some of the embarrassments of their college and high school years. The information is still there for anyone looking for it, but does it really make sense for it to be the top result? If I'm Googling potential employees, I'm probably more interested in papers they published than a YouTube video of them drunkenly dancing on a table.

    • by gweihir (88907)

      "Googeling" somebody is not as easy as you make it sound. It already requires careful checks to make sure you have the right person and it requires interpretation by experienced experts. What will happens that specialized information services just grab and retain this information and provide ratings for prospective employees for a fee, as they do now.

      • by mpe (36238)
        "Googeling" somebody is not as easy as you make it sound. It already requires careful checks to make sure you have the right person and it requires interpretation by experienced experts.

        It also depends on how common a name someone has. If they have a very common name it can be difficult finding the right person at all.
        This has been an issue even since the invention of the telephone directory. With the added complication that the distribution of names of telephone subscribers, Facebook users, "Tweeters", e
    • by houstonbofh (602064) on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @10:52PM (#44955827)

      If I'm Googling potential employees, I'm probably more interested in papers they published than a YouTube video of them drunkenly dancing on a table.

      And later you can answer all those people who ask how you could hire a teacher like that. A lot of companies are deathly afraid of a scandal, and it is easier to cut it off in the hiring process than to fire people later. (Which means you get sneaker scoundrels, which is what they want, I guess.)

      • Which means you get sneaker scoundrels, which is what they want, I guess.

        You get more extremes - more people who are utterly bland (and thus only suited for cog-in-the-machine type work that doesn't require any creativity) and more people who are devious enough to fool the system into being utterly bland. Which may well have the effect of pushing for even more invasive background investigations. Pretty much a fail all around.

      • by artor3 (1344997)

        Like I said, if they're really interested in finding scandalous stuff, they can dig for it. It'll still be there. But should it really be the first thing that comes up?

      • by mpe (36238)
        A lot of companies are deathly afraid of a scandal, and it is easier to cut it off in the hiring process than to fire people later. (Which means you get sneaker scoundrels, which is what they want, I guess.)

        Or simply those with the most common names...
    • by TheSpoom (715771)

      I have to say that, as long as the law is crafted very carefully, I agree with this assessment of the law. Kids can be very, very stupid, and their future older, wiser selves shouldn't be shackled to their past forever.

      That said, I would require some sort of time to have passed (on the order of years) before the "eraser button" could be pressed, to avoid making things confusing for others.

    • or the human race itself could grow up, and we could collectively acknowledge that we ALL did and said stuff when we were younger that on reflection probably wasn't that wise. It's like we're all living under a single big fat lie

      When everyone's bad deeds and naked photos are on the internet, noone will care.

      Guess that would put a bunch of tabloid newspapers out of business though.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      If this is anything like the EU Right to be Forgotten then Santorum wouldn't be able to use it in this way. The EU version only applies to things you yourself posted, accounts you yourself created. If you are (in)famous and someone writes an article or blog post about you, or even mentions you on their social media site there isn't anything you can do.

  • by sinij (911942) on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @10:31PM (#44955703) Journal
    "Internet never forgets" is not a problem if you were an adult when social media first became popular. For young people today it will be cruel and unusual punishment once they turn adults.

    I don't think it is reasonable to judge someone based on what they said many years ago. People change. People grow up and become adults.

    At the same time we know that legislative solution like that will be ineffective. Only social change would work, but that won't happen until our generation is around. So they are screwed for at least another decade(s).
  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @10:33PM (#44955725) Homepage

    This is only an issue because there are five applicants for every job and more than half of college graduates move back in with their parents. Everybody now sends their resume to everybody, and HR departments are overwhelmed. The result is extensive filtering on easy to check, but not too useful, criteria by HR departments.

    • by guruevi (827432)

      I would be glad if there were only 5 applicants for every job. There are about 5 applicants when we DON'T have an opening.

  • I thought FB was 18+ so minors shouldn't be on it anyways.

  • What if my website has no legal presence in USA? How do you apply your laws to me? Extradition for a state law, for something not illegal in my country?

  • So now Slashdot is illegal in California?

    Because no one can delete comments.

  • Let's go piss in Jerry Brown's pool and watch him try to get it out.

  • Why restrict this law to just Cyberspace? Sure, criminal records can be expunged, but what of the rest of reality?! What if someone else REMEMBERS seeing the stuff and writes about what you did? See? We must also erase the memories of everyone alive. NO, that would be too draconian, far more ethical is to wash the brain which did the deeds.

    Excellent! I've been waiting for inroads to install wireless thought conveyance devices in the humans, but you have to install the implants while the neuro-pla

  • When Google purchased Usenet archives from DejaNews, it was believed they would make them as accessible as the current web content is. However, as is clear from even a cursory search of the Usenet archives, Google has apparently decided to let a lot of it slide into the bit-bucket or at least render the search results practically unusable. Indeed, it would appear that some individuals -- I am thinking specifically of some guys at Yale -- managed to get their posts from the early 90s expunged. These weren
    • C'mon, don't tease like that, give it to us a little deeper. Does "powerful members of society" refer to the public or private sector?

  • What this makes me wonder suddenly: will we see an increase in people applying to change their name in the future? That's after all the main search key used to look up a person's online behaviours. Provided companies don't get to ask for login names and so (which may be illegal anyway).

  • Gee Whiz! This post is really just made to cancel out my unintentional bad moderation of a good post. This JavaScript interface sucks without a confirm feature.
  • I bet that even as we speak there are bots operating which are scraping every single publicly available comment and photo in anticipation of the day in 10 years when it might prove commercially valuable to sell that info to potential employers, newspapers, governments, or political parties.
  • So does this mean that I can, like, cause massive disruption, troll WP:ANI and be a total WP:DICK and then apply for adminship without creating a new account? Cool!

...when fits of creativity run strong, more than one programmer or writer has been known to abandon the desktop for the more spacious floor. - Fred Brooks, Jr.

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