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N.J. law would let teens wipe their embarrassing online histories

Critics warn the bill’s language is far too vague to be effective.


Brendan O'Connor


Teens! What are we going to do with them? All day long they are sending each other nude photographs and writing about their feelings on Internet websites across the World Wide Web. How is anyone going to run for president when everyone’s boobs and penises are on the Internet?

Fortunately, New Jersey state Senator Shirley Turner—a Democrat from the “Fighting Fifteenth” legislative district—has introduced a bill to solve just this problem.

“Every child, it seems, has a cell phone these days,” said Turner. “The kids today are just so much involved in technology, and sometimes technology can be a curse.”

The bill—designated “S3018”—begins by banning websites from advertising things like alcohol, guns, and tanning facilities to minors. The really good stuff is in the next section, however.

An operator of a website must “permit a minor who is a registered user of the operator’s Internet website,” the bill reads, “to remove, or to request and obtain removal of within seven days of the request, content or information posted by the minor.”

Senator Turner knows the limits of her power, however. Despite the Internet—and teens—becoming a global phenomenon (epidemic?), S3018 is not global in its scope. “This bill addresses public safety concerns as they relate to minors in this State,” it reads.

“There is a real mess here,” Eric Bernstein, an Internet law attorney, told “It’s going to be overly broad and very difficult to enforce.”

Unfortunately, the Teens could not be reached for comment.

Image via Joris Louwes/Flickr

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