LGBTQ+ Organizations and Centers Send Letter to Hill Urging Changes to Kids Online Safety Bill
Read a PDF of our letter here.
Today, LGBT Tech and 73 other organizations and LGBTQ+ centers from around the country sent a letter to 101 Democrats in the Senate and House of Representatives, expressing concern with the Kids Online Safety bill (S.1409), or KOSA, currently being considered in the Senate. Each of the letters shared can be found here.
In today's digital age, ensuring the safety of minors online is paramount. While we support initiatives aimed at protecting minors from online dangers, we believe KOSA as it stands would inadvertently block LGBTQ+ and other youth from accessing valuable digital content and supportive online communities.
Specifically, the letter identifies potential risks posed by KOSA's "duty of care" obligation, which would likely cause online platforms to inadvertently remove legitimate and vital content to avoid violating KOSA. This risk is particularly concerning in states with policies already hostile to the LGBTQ+ community, where political actors could exploit KOSA to further their anti-LGBTQ+ agenda.
To address these issues, the letter calls for an amendment to KOSA that explicitly prohibits any form of "general monitoring" legal obligation. We argue that such a provision would better protect free expression, prevent censorship of legitimate content, and enhance user privacy and security by reducing the need for continuous online surveillance.
The LGBTQ+ youth community is a significant demographic in the United States, with more than 5.7 million teenagers identifying as LGBTQ+. These young individuals often seek out online spaces that provide valuable information and supportive communities, which can be crucial during a period of life that can be challenging and hostile. It is vital that any legislation aimed at protecting young people does not inadvertently these many young people or the youth in other marginalized communities.
Striking a balance between protecting minors and safeguarding fundamental rights of expression and privacy is of the utmost importance in our digital world. KOSA, as it stands, still requires careful consideration and amendments to do so.