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Surrendering Privacy to Protect Children Online

A variety of legislative proposals across the country attempt to limit “children’s” or minors’ ability to be online, to see certain content or contribute content, or to set up user accounts. Most enforce this by targeting the technology with heavy fines if the technology provider fails to police those who use their platform, use an app or gain access to the website. For those who are simply interested in blaming and attacking tech companies this seems like a great idea, but the implications reach right to our basic liberties.
Generally, the legislative proposals would require that a child have permission from a parent or guardian before they could open an account or access a website. Some would actually forbid children (the ages vary) from having an account at all. Regardless of the intentions of the advocates, with just a bit of critical thinking the problems are easily exposed.
Unless the platforms are required to perform any uniform identity verification, a minor first has to be honest about being a minor. If a minor simply lies about their age, they avoid the entire age verification gauntlet. If the minor is honest about their age, an adult must provide the necessary permission for the child to use the platform. Which means that the technology provider will have to verify that the adult is an adult, which necessitates identity verification, with some sort of proof like providing a birth certificate, driver’s license number, Social Security number, or property tax record. This information would have to be verified by the platform by checking public databases and stored to protect the platform from any future charges of a wrongdoing.
People without kids may think these proposals have very little to do with them. They would be wrong. The platform or service provider, acting at the behest of government, is now mandated to collect particularly personal information, which most still consider an egregious violation of online privacy. 
And keep in mind this is about engaging in communications, free speech or being able to find and interact with a community of your choosing. This is not about, for example, buying cigarettes or alcohol where the familiar check of identification is performed even if the items are delivered. Rather, this is about fundamental protected rights.
A better approach is for parents to be aware of and use the tools already provided to them at the service provider, hardware, platform and software levels. Instead of grandstanding about how we need government to usurp the role of parents, government could play a role in educating parents, guardians, teachers and influencers about how to be safe online. Then adults could actually be in control instead of being controlled.