Feb 21, 2022
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US senators introduce the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA)

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US Senators Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee have introduced the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA), legislation that aims to enhance children’s safety online.

This follows the The Wall Street Journal (WSJ)’s reporting on the harm Instagram can inflict on teens, which was based on controversial Facebook documents that whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked to the WSJ, and coupled with multiple hearings with social media companies about their failures to protect kids online.

“Protecting our kids and teens online is critically important, particularly since COVID increased our reliance on technology,” said Blackburn in a press release.

“Big Tech has brazenly failed children and betrayed its trust, putting profits above safety. Seared in my memory—and motivating my passion—are countless harrowing stories from Connecticut and across the country about heartbreaking loss, destructive emotional rabbit holes, and addictive dark places rampant on social media. The Kids Online Safety Act would finally give kids and their parents the tools and safeguards they need to protect against toxic content—and hold Big Tech accountable for deeply dangerous algorithms. Algorithms driven by eyeballs and dollars will no longer hold sway.”

In a one-page summary document, KOSA is presented as a solution to the longstanding problem of social media platforms playing a hand in their most vulnerable users’ mental health and well-being: children and teens. The senators presented how parents or carers and young social media users can benefit from KOSA by:

Meanwhile in California, lawmakers introduced a bill on Thursday that requires Meta and YouTube to limit collecting children’s data on their platforms. If passed into law, the profiling of young users for targeted advertising will be restricted, introducing age-appropriate content policies will be mandated, and serving up behavioral nudges to get children and teens to weaken their privacy protections will be banned.

This California bill is said to be modeled after the UK’s Age Appropriate Design Code (aka “Children’s Code”), which came into force in September 2021.

The post US senators introduce the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

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