California Social Media Law, Rosenworcel Deep in Space, Changes at I3 Connectivity Explorer

The California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom will limit the online collection of children’s data.

California Social Media Law, Rosenworcel Deep in Space, Changes at I3 Connectivity Explorer
Photo of California Gov. Gavin Newsom

September 16, 2022 – California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday signed into law a bill designed to shield children from data gathering and other online harms.

Effective July 1, 2024, the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act will limit the online collection of children’s data by any business that “provides an online service, product, or feature likely to be accessed by children.” The act also forbids the usage of children’s data in a manner “the business knows, or has reason to know, is materially detrimental to the physical health, mental health, or well-being of a child” and limits businesses’ ability to dispose of such data, among other measures. To ensure compliance, businesses would be required to establish the age of online users and issue reports to state officials.

“We’re taking aggressive action in California to protect the health and wellbeing of our kids,” said Newsom. “As a father of four, I’m familiar with the real issues our children are experiencing online.”

Critics of the act say that the age verification requirement jeopardizes the privacy of all Californians – young and old alike. Professor Eric Goldman of Santa Clara Law wrote: “Identity authentication functionally eliminates anonymous online activity and all unattributed activity and content on the Internet. This would hurt many communities, such as minorities concerned about revealing their identity (e.g., LGBTQ), pregnant women seeking information about abortions, and whistleblowers.”

This isn’t the Golden State’s only stab at internet regulation this week: Newsom signed a social media and transparency bill into law on Tuesday.

A.B. 587 will require social media platforms to submit to the state attorney general a semiannual report including terms of service, definitions of certain categories of content including “hate speech,” “disinformation,” and “foreign political interference,” and content-moderation policies – as well a detailed history of how those policies were implemented.

Platforms will also be required to publicize terms of service, the process by which users can flag content in violation thereof, and content moderation polices. The bill applies only to platforms with an annual gross revenue of $100 million or more.

Rosenworcel looks to the sky

Federal Commutations Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel on Wednesday laid out the agency’s three-point plan to promote space commerce, including the reformation of existing regulatory framework, the support for the innovation of in-space technologies, and the shortening of the window for removal of satellite debris from 25 years to five.

Speaking at the Global Aerospace Summit in Washington, Rosenworcel committed to fostering in-space service, assembly, and manufacturing technologies, which allow work to be done on satellites while in orbit. In addition, she cited the FCC’s recent opening of the 17 GigaHertz (GHz) band as a model for future spectrum permitting to support of space projects.

The FCC’s chairwoman also hailed the FCC’s historical role in space commerce going back to the launch of the Telstar 1 satellite in 1962.

“Telstar 1 reminds us that the United States is the place where we look to the skies, dream big, and make it happen,” Rosenworcel said. “That’s why I’m here today. I’m here because the FCC had big dreams for America’s first space age. And we have big dreams now for America’s second space age.”

CrowdFiber to begin operating I3 Connectivity Explorer

Broadband-network facilitator CrowdFiber will take control of the I3 Connectivity Explorer effective September 21, the Center for Internet as Infrastructure announced Thursday.

A subsidiary of the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative, CrowdFiber provides mapping services, gathers member and non-member feedback, and financial analysis – among other features. The NRTC markets it as a one-stop solution for any entity building or operating a broadband network.

“This welcome development will introduce the resource to the 1,500 member organizations of the NRTC,” said Robert Ballance, founder of the Center.

The CII’s I3 Connectivity Explorer maps the operations of internet service providers, integrating local and regional-level data – i.e., at the level of towns, counties, congressional districts, etc. – from government agencies and other public sources.

Ballance said that his group would prioritize the needs of its users: “We’re working together to make this transition as frictionless as possible for current users while fully respecting your privacy and ensuring the privacy of your data.”

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