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Calif. Bill Would Let Minors Remove Embarrassing Internet Posts

SACRAMENTO (CBS / AP) -- Minors who post embarrassing photographs or information on social media websites would have a chance to remove it from public view under a bill sent Friday to Gov. Jerry Brown.

The bill requires that website operators give children a way to take the material down and to make it clear on the sites how the minors can make those requests.

"A teenager that says something on the Internet that they regret five minutes later, under this bill the websites in California will have to have the ability for the young teenager to remove that," said Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento.

His bill, SB568, also prohibits websites from marketing activities, goods and services to minors if those things are illegal for them. It further bans websites from giving minors' identifying information to third parties for use in marketing.

Products that could not be promoted online to children include alcohol, tobacco, firearms, spray paint, artificial tanning, certain dietary supplements, lottery tickets, tattoos or body branding, drug paraphernalia and obscene materials.

The ban would apply only to registered users of the websites, who would have had to provide their birth date to the operator.

The provisions in the bill would not take effect until Jan. 1, 2015, which Steinberg said would give the industry time to comply.

Facebook, the tech industry, Motion Picture Association of America and the California Chamber of Commerce did not oppose the bill, Steinberg said.

The only registered opposition was from The Center for Democracy and Technology, which promotes an open Internet free from restrictions.

The provisions of Steinberg's bill create enough uncertainty that it could discourage websites from creating Internet content and services designed for minors or could prompt popular websites to ban minors from their sites, the group said.

The bill has support from several crime victims' rights groups, along with Common Sense Media, which wants greater protections for children and families. Common Sense Media particularly supported protecting minors' identifying information from advertisers and potential identity thieves.

"Additionally, as we live more and more of our lives online, it is imperative that our kids have the option to erase data they have shared ... oftentimes without clear consent or parental knowledge and guidance," the group said in supporting Steinberg's bill.

The Senate agreed to Assembly amendments on a 38-0 vote, sending it to the governor.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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