Computer & Communication Industry Association
PublishedApril 5, 2024

CCIA Provides Comments Opposing Vermont Social Media Bill

Washington – The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) today provided written comments and testimony to Vermont lawmakers opposing S.289, a proposed bill that would require the use of age verification methods online and potentially compromise residents’ data and personal information. 

The proposed bill would require online companies to gather additional personal information from Vermont residents, raising concerns about privacy and data security. The additional collection of data that would be necessary to comply with S. 289 would significantly undermine any effort the Legislature takes to pass and implement a comprehensive data privacy law in Vermont (H.121). Furthermore, S. 289 includes several definitions and requirements that conflict with those found in the proposed data privacy legislation, which would confuse businesses and complicate their ability to properly comply with 

The provisions of S.289 would also restrict children’s access to the internet, which raises constitutional concerns regarding their First Amendment rights. Limiting children’s online access could impede their ability to seek information and support from virtual communities that may provide crucial resources not available in their physical surroundings. While CCIA agrees that the aim of protecting younger users online is commendable, S.289’s approach appears counterproductive. Instead of enhancing safety, it necessitates increased data collection from all internet users, including minors. This broad approach risks infringing upon individuals’ privacy rights without sufficiently addressing the targeted safety concerns. 

The following may be attributed to CCIA Northeast Regional Policy Manager Alex Spyropoulos:

“While we share the goal of safeguarding young users online, we urge Vermont legislators to refrain from advancing legislation that would undermine efforts to implement a sound comprehensive data privacy law in the State. Furthermore, numerous states across the country are currently attempting to enact legislation mandating age verification measures on online platforms, and many of these proposals face legal challenges over concerns about their constitutionality. We encourage Vermont lawmakers to thoroughly examine the implications of S.289 before they advance legislation that would undermine data privacy and could result in expensive litigation with costs that would be passed on to taxpayers.”