Minors can request companies to delete embarrassing content they posted, but sometimes that might not be enough to save a college or job application.

More and more, school counselors and career services tell high schoolers and college students to be aware of their online presence when applying to colleges or jobs. A profile photo of you having fun at a party holding the typical red solo cup could be the nail in the coffin for your application. A new California law could change that for minors. California governor Jerry Brown signed a bill yesterday that will require web companies to remove online activity when requested by a California minor.

“Kids so often self-reveal before they self-reflect,” James Steyer, founder of San Francisco non-profit organization Common Sense Media, said. “Mistakes can stay with teens for life, and their digital footprint can follow them wherever they go.”

Even so, while the bill is a small victory for online privacy, once something is online, it could spread. Even if web companies comply with minors’ requests and remove inappropriate content, if another person posted a photo of someone, the law does not force that person to remove it. Or if someone reposts it elsewhere, it is out of the web company’s hands.

The law also bans web companies and firms dealing with mobile apps from marketing products that are illegal for minors when minors are logged in. However, the Center for Democracy and Technology in D.C. cautions that the restrictions could deter web companies from creating content for children.

Source: SF Gate

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