California Governor Jerry Brown recently approved legislation that will allow minors to delete social media content. He is currently considering a second piece of legislation passed by the state Senate and Assembly that would require sites to disclose whether or not they recognize Do Not Track requests.

SB 568 recognizes that all kids make mistakes and that social media means those mistakes could last forever. “Too often a teenager will post an inappropriate picture or statement that in the moment seems frivolous or fun, but that they later regret,” the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), said in a statement.

Intended to protect against the mistakes of youth, the law would allow those under the age of 18 to delete upon request material posted online to social media sites like Facebook and other sites. It would also prohibit sites from compiling the personal information of minors to market products or services they cannot otherwise legally purchase or use, such as alcohol or tobacco.

The bill faced limited opposition prior to passage. Companies such as Facebook and Google took a neutral position while the Center for Democracy and Technology expressed concern that the law could create a chilling effect on operators creating content for minors, with some sites possibly blocking access to those under the age of 18 to avoid dealing with the deletion requirements.

The group’s stance did not impact the bill’s passage, with the Senate voting unanimously to approve the legislation.

Both the state Senate and Assembly similarly passed AB 370, a disclosure law that would require Web site operators to reveal how they respond to Do Not Track “signals or other mechanisms that provide consumers a choice regarding the collection of personally identifiable information about an individual consumer’s online activities over time and across different Web sites or online services.”

Sponsored by California Attorney General Kamala Harris, the bill is intended to raise awareness of online behavioral tracking, she said, and allow consumers to make an informed choice about whether or not to use a certain service or site depending on its policies.

The amendment to the California Online Privacy Protection Act does not impose a DNT standard, but merely requires disclosures. A Web site that fails to set forth its practices would face a warning and 30 days to achieve compliance. 

To read SB 568, click here.

To read AB 370, click here.

Why it matters: SB 568 was signed by Governor Brown on September 23 and will take effect January 1, 2015. AB 370 will likely present some challenges for Web site operators. With continuing debate over the definition of what DNT entails, Web sites and apps should make a careful decision about disclosing how they respond to DNT signals.