Calif. Senate OKs Kids’ Online Privacy Bill

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Social networking sites may soon be prohibited from posting certain personal information about minors in California.

A bill approved 25-4 Thursday by the state Senate would require the sites to remove the option allowing users to publicly post their home address or phone number if users say they are younger than 18.

The bill's author, Democratic Sen. Ellen Corbett of San Leandro, says SB1361 will increase protections against sexual predators and identity theft.

"Many of us have heard the terrible stories where, unfortunately, predators have shown up on the doorstep of young people after they have used the Internet to search them out." Corbett said of the legislation in an April 13 interview. "This is a very valuable tool for us to enable safety for our children and also to teach them how important their privacy is -- to ensure  private information doesn't escape onto the Internet, where it may be used in ways to harm them."

The measure now moves to the Assembly.

A 2005 study by the Polly Klaas Foundation found that young people frequently engage in risky behavior online. One in 10 children between the ages of 8 and 12 said they communicate with strangers on the Web.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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