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Utah introduces age verification checks for social media platforms, following digital ID push

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Utah has become the first state in the US to pass legislation regulating how minors can use social media platforms by forcing platforms to check users’ IDs. Utah has also recently started exploring digital IDs.

Gov. Spencer Cox signed two bills into law that aim to prevent social media companies from designing addicting features and regulate when and how minors can use these platforms.

The bills will likely face lawsuits over privacy and First Amendment rights.

Senator Mike McKell’s SB152, which goes into effect on March 1, 2024, imposes several regulations on social media companies. It mandates age verification for all users before they can open or maintain an account, requires parental permission before a minor can open a social media account, restricts minors’ use of social media from 10:30 pm to 6:30 am unless a parent changes those settings, gives parents access to their child’s account, and limits the personal information a social media platform can collect from minors.

We obtained a copy of the bill for you here.

Representative Jordan Teuscher’s HB311, which also goes into effect on March 1, 2024, blocks social media companies from implementing a “design or feature” that causes a minor to become addicted to using the platform. The companies could face fines or lawsuits for violations.

We obtained a copy of the bill for you here.

In recent years, there has been growing concern about the collection of user IDs by social media platforms and the potential privacy issues that arise from this practice.

The collection or checking of user IDs, such as government-issued IDs or birth certificates, has become more common in recent years, as social media platforms are facing calls to seek to verify the age and identity of their users.

However, this practice raises several privacy concerns.

Firstly, there is the risk of data breaches. Social media platforms collect vast amounts of personal information from their users, including names, email addresses, phone numbers, and other sensitive data. When this information is coupled with government-issued IDs, it creates a highly valuable dataset that could be targeted by cybercriminals or other malicious actors. Even in places where the platform itself doesn’t keep the ID on file, third-party ID check companies may collect data.

If a data breach were to occur, this information could be used for identity theft or other fraudulent activities.

Secondly, there is the issue of government surveillance. When social media platforms collect government-issued IDs, they create a link between a user’s online identity and their real-world identity. This information could potentially be accessed by law enforcement agencies, either through legal channels such as warrants or through more questionable means. This raises concerns about government surveillance and the potential abuse of power by those in authority.

Finally, there is the issue of data retention. When social media platforms collect user IDs, they are required to store this information to verify a user’s age and identity. However, there is often little transparency around how long this data is stored, and what happens to it once it is no longer needed. This raises concerns about data retention and the potential for this sensitive information to be retained indefinitely, even after a user has deleted their account.

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