Federal Judge Halts California's Landmark Online Child Protection Law, Citing First Amendment Concerns

Federal Judge Halts Californias Landmark Online Child Protection Law, Citing First Amendment Concerns

A federal judge has temporarily blocked the implementation of the California Age-Appropriate Design Code (CAADCA), a law that aimed to protect children online. The judge, Beth Labson Freeman, stated that the law likely violates the First Amendment of the US Constitution. The CAADCA requires digital platforms to assess whether their products could harm children before releasing them, and also mandates stronger data privacy protections for younger users.

The law had broad bipartisan support and was seen as one of the strongest children's online safety laws in the country. However, tech trade group NetChoice, which includes Amazon, Meta, and Google as members, sued to block the law, arguing that it would impede free speech rights and turn platforms into "roving censors of speech on the Internet." The preliminary injunction granted by Judge Freeman deals a major blow to state lawmakers and children's safety advocates. Several other states have also sought to replicate the CAADCA's standards. The office of California Attorney General Rob Bonta expressed disappointment with the ruling and plans to respond in court.

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