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Privacy vs. Convenienceby@sheharyarkhan
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Privacy vs. Convenience

by Sheharyar KhanOctober 25th, 2023
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Looks like Google has had it with lawmakers, particularly when it comes to formulating laws involving how the company collects data on teenagers and children.
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Looks like Google has had it with lawmakers, particularly when it comes to formulating laws involving how the company collects data on teenagers and children. So, the Alphabet-owned search behemoth decided to take charge and prevent Congress, and state government bodies, from telling it how to run its damn business.


See, last week Google released what it called the "Legislative Framework to Protect Children and Teens Online," a bunch of guidelines aimed at informing lawmakers on formulating laws to keep younger audiences safe on the internet.


And the timing couldn't have been more suspicious, given that the framework came less than a week after New York state introduced legislation to prevent online platforms from collecting and sharing children's personal data without consent and limit the addictive features of social media platforms which cause mental health effects.


Now, to be clear, Google said it was all for banning personalized advertising for children and teens, and the sale of their data to third parties, but (and there's always a but), lawmakers needed to make an exception for processing of information for "legitimate business purposes."


Whatever that means.


The legislation in New York is just the latest in steps US lawmakers are taking to clamp down on the negative effects of social media platforms. Earlier this year, a group of US senators introduced a bipartisan bill that would require users to verify their age, beyond the customary, ya know, checkmark that tells websites that they are indeed over 18 years of age, with things like an ID.


Google reallllly does not like that one, arguing time and time again (and for good reason) that requiring users to prove they're over 18 could potentially prevent teens from accessing information for things like studies or extracurricular. (Not to mention, circumvent their ability to sh*tpost)


Google and a host of other companies also did not like it when California passed laws requiring platforms to assess whether any new potential product or service could harm children. So of course, they sued, and lucky for them, a federal judge blocked the rule just last month.


It's difficult to empathize with Google's position, particularly given that the company is one of a handful of tech giants that have overly commercialized the internet, turning it into a cesspool of recommendations for items you may or not want to buy — far from the vision of what the internet was supposed to be (a highway for information sharing). But on the other hand, Google does have a point: who the heck wants to verify their age using their state-issued ID or some such?


Whatever the solution, it will probably play out in court or within Congress.


Google ranked #5 on HackerNoon's Tech Company Rankings.


Google rank on HackerNoon's Tech Company Rankings



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— Sheharyar Khan, Editor, Business Tech @ HackerNoon


*All rankings are current as of Monday. To see how the rankings have changed, please visit HackerNoon's Tech Company Rankings page.