SIIA Raises Alarms on Kids Online Safety Act: Constitutional Concerns and Privacy Risks Unaddressed in KOSA Revised Text

This statement can be attributed to Paul Lekas, Senior Vice President, Global Public Policy, the Software & Information Industry Association.

SIIA remains concerned with the revised text for the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) released today by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). We established our Keep Kids Safe and Connected Campaign to ensure policy makers pass legislation grounded in protecting the Constitutional rights, privacy and safety of young Americans. Unfortunately, this new text still raises constitutional concerns and does not protect the privacy and safety of young Americans.

This new text still raises First Amendment concerns by essentially requiring companies to censor content for users. A negligence standard for “duty of care” would create such a huge risk of liability that online platforms will be left with virtually no choice but to restrict content. The law is not content neutral and almost certainly runs afoul of the constitution.

The categories remain broad and vague and by failing to narrow the categories in any meaningful manner, there is still a high likelihood that this will lead to increased regulatory scrutiny and litigation from the FTC or aggressive state Attorney Generals and the over-censorship or removal by platforms on protected content.

The new text requires companies to offer different services to users of different ages effectively requiring age verification. Experts have noted this could require companies to collect more information than necessary on all users, not just kids. Age verification requirements are privacy invasive.

We encourage the Senate to work with stakeholders to amend the language to address the Constitutional and privacy concerns in this new proposal. We all want to keep kids safe but this is not the way to do it.

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