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New York Passes Digital-ID Law to Protect its Children From Adult Content

Lawmakers in New York have passed the Stop Addictive Feeds Exploitation (SAFE) for Kids Act and the Child Data Protection Act which requires everyone to have a Digital-ID to access the internet,

Assembly Bill A8148A and Senate Bill S7694A (that became the SAFE Act) were introduced as aiming to prevent social platforms from showing minors “addictive” (i.e., algorithmically manipulated) feeds, among a host of other provisions.

Critics of the new law suggest that this is an excuse to usher in compulsory Digital ID for all users and a big step towards the World Economic Forum's plan to make everyone have a Digital ID for everything.

Regardless, Governor Kathy Hochul was in a celebratory mood late last week announcing the outcome that she pushed for, with the backing of some parent and student organisations. The Democrat is expected to sign the bills shortly.

The SAFE and Child Data Protection Acts are touted as proof that legislators in New York are not beholden to Big Tech – and the bills and their passage are being described as “historic and transformative,” likely because this is the first set of their kind in a US state.

How the laws get enforced and what positive, or negative (given the age verification factor) consequences they will have, will become evident in time. Meanwhile, heads of various legislative bodies, the state Attorney-General, and assembly members are congratulating each other and talking up the new legislation.

Age – and how to determine it (that is, uncontroversially, while protecting people’s right to privacy and anonymity) – crops up again with The New York Child Data Protection Act, which says data belonging to anyone under 18 cannot be collected, used, shared or sold – “unless they receive informed consent or unless doing so is strictly necessary for the purpose of the website.”


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