The state of California recently enacted a law that requires websites, mobile applications, and other online service providers that provide services online aimed at minors, and collect their information, to provide these minors an option to delete or remove the information they post. It essentially allows minors to have an online eraser. This bill has been nicknamed the "Eraser Button Bill" in California and would provide a major legal avenue for any minor who wishes to have information they made available on a website, mobile app, or any online service, be deleted or removed. All too often minors, especially when they reach the age of maturity, wish that they could remove things they posted online. This regret only grows as a younger generation continues to mature, especially since that younger generation grew up using online media. While there are social media providers like Twitter and Facebook that already give people a delete button option, not all websites offer this, especially with the required notification to minors of this eraser option. California has typically led the way with privacy legislation, including that which mirrors some of the protection under the Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
It will be interesting to see if this legislation gets signed into law. If it does, perhaps the next legislation may not pertain only to minors. Internet users regularly contact internet attorneys wondering how they can remove information they have posted. While some websites will cooperate and will remove it at the request of the poster, or even make such removal function available to the user itself, not all websites currently allow that. This becomes particularly problematic when allegedly unlawful content is posted online, whether it be defamatory, invasion of privacy, or some kind of infringement. Recognizing that laws are being consistently being passed to address various online issues including the potential to erase online content, it is critical for any internet attorney and any individual or business entity looking to have any information posted online deleted.