Washington – The Texas legislature has scheduled a hearing on HB 18 Monday, intending to protect minors online. The bill, however, contains provisions that may conflict with federal law and result in significant unintended consequences such as introducing additional security and privacy concerns that could disproportionately collect more data on children.
The Computer & Communications Industry believes minors deserve enhanced privacy and security measures online. In order to achieve this goal, CCIA would recommend that Texas legislators more narrowly tailor key definitions. As currently written, the bill could implicate a wide array of products and services. HB 18 also does not acknowledge the nuances between what may be “age-appropriate” for a 17- year old vs. a 14 year-old. Texas could address this by ensuring the definition of minor aligns with federal law – currently users under 13.
CCIA has advocated for policies that enable innovation and a competitive U.S. tech industry for more than 50 years.
The following can be attributed to CCIA State Policy Director Khara Boender:
“We understand legislators’ concern regarding the potential risks posed to young people online, and would encourage Texas lawmakers to more precisely tailor the legislation to meet its stated objectives. More clarity and fine tuning is needed to achieve the legislation’s goals, while also avoiding unintended consequences, such as limiting access to beneficial products and services, or introducing additional privacy and security risks for children.”