As we previously reported as something to look out for in 2024, US lawmakers are intent on pushing online ID, age verification, and causing an end to online anonymity – despite constitutional concerns.
And during a hearing today, tech CEOs supported proposals that would greatly expand the requirements for online ID verification and erode the ability to use the internet without connecting your online activity to your identity.
The proposals are being pushed in the name of protecting children online but would impact anyone who doesn’t want to tie all of their online speech and activity to their real ID – over surveillance, censorship, or whistleblowing concerns.
In response to criticism from lawmakers, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg pushed for far-reaching online age verification standards that would impose age verification at the app store level — a proposal that would mean the vast majority of mobile app usage could be tied to a person’s official identity.
X CEO Linda Yaccarino expressed support for the Kids Online Safety Act, a bill that would expand online age verification.
Snap CEO Evan Spiegel expressed support for the Kids Online Safety Act and the Cooper Davis Act, a bill that targets private messaging apps and could ban end-to-end encryption.
The proposals being pushed during this hearing would represent a dramatic reshaping of the once free and open internet. Instead of the ability to communicate or browse the internet privately being the default, surveillance would become more prevalent and the ability to access many online services would be linked to a digital ID or age verification system.
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