How the Kids Online Safety Act puts us all at risk - 2023-08-04

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F0.png How the Kids Online Safety Act puts us all at risk August 4, 2023, Casey Newton, The Verge

Today let's talk about a right we currently take for granted that may soon disappear: the ability to browse and post to most websites anonymously.

In May, Utah became the second state to enact a law requiring adult websites to verify the identities of their users. The law requires websites that host porn to use one of several methods to ensure visitors are 18 years or older, including state-issued digital IDs and third-party age verification services. Those services use a range of verification tools, including age estimation based on the user's face and uploading a government ID.

The law originated from reasonable concerns that most websites do almost nothing to prevent minors from accessing porn online. But as written, it also discourages adults from using these sites — the stigma around watching porn means that very few people want their face or government name linked to their browsing on a site like Pornhub. (The fact that verification companies are supposed to delete user data after verification hasn't provided much comfort, since how will anyone know if they're following through?)

Wikipedia cite:
{{cite news | first = Casey | last = Newton | title = How the Kids Online Safety Act puts us all at risk | url = https://www.theverge.com/2023/8/4/23819578/kosa-kids-online-safety-act-privacy-danger | work = The Verge | date = August 4, 2023 | accessdate = March 8, 2024 }}