Techno-legal Solutionism: Regulating Children’s Online Safety in the United States

29 Jan, 2024

Techno-legal Solutionism: Regulating Children’s Online Safety in the United States

Check out this new paper from alum Danah Boyd, Partner Researcher, Microsoft Research and Distinguished Visiting Professor, Georgetown University, and Maria P. Agnel, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Washington School of Law.

In this paper, the two unpack the theory of change at the center of the “duty of care” included in the “Kids Online Safety Act” (KOSA). They argue that techno-legal solutionism is both ineffective as a framework and, in the case of KOSA, potentially harmful to the young people it purports to help

From Introduction:

"Since the 1990s, the US Congress has experimented with different theories of change when introducing federal legislation that is concerned with children’s online safety and privacy. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) requires technology platforms to seek parental permission before collecting data about children under the age of 13. This law attempted to regulate access with an eye towards enabling parental control. While many companies responded to COPPA by stating that their service is only for people over the age of 13 and requiring users to indicate their age upon signup, parents have consistently helped their children lie about their age [boyd et al. 2011]. Two other laws passed in the same time period – the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1998 and the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) of 1998 – focused more explicitly on regulating content, but they were legally challenged on First Amendment grounds and, except for Section 230 of the CDA, were declared unconstitutional or never enacted. In 2006, Congress attempted to restrict what websites children could access in schools and libraries with the Deleting Online Predators Act, but this effort was challenged by educators and librarians and the bill was not advanced....."

Click Here For More