The California Bill to Combat Online Child Abuse Nobody Seems to be Talking About

John Perrino is a policy analyst at the Stanford Internet Observatory. California State Capitol, Sacramento, California. Shutterstock The California legislative session came to an end last Thursday with two online safety bills killed in the committee process, including SB 646 on child abuse reporting and SB 680, which would have added requirements to the Age-Appropriate Design Code Act, a law passed in 2022 which was just enjoined by a federal district court.  But one piece of legislation to combat online child sexual abuse material (CSAM) managed to pass unanimously out of both chambers, even though it drew little attention and faced industry pushback with late amendments. The legislation, AB 1394, would require social media companies to create user reporting systems and conduct regular risk assessments and reports on how platforms are addressing child sexual exploitation and abuse.  The bill now heads to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk with an October 14 deadline to veto or sign the bill into law. The requirements would then go into effect on January 1, 2025. If it becomes law, the legislation may face legal challenges. Techdirt’s Mike Masnick argues that AB 1394 would be preempted by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides liability protections for user generated content.  Parts of the bill may also be challenged under the First and Fourth amendments, or conflict with laws regarding CSAM reporting to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), a congressionally chartered organization that facilitates online child abuse reports with a database used…The California Bill to Combat Online Child Abuse Nobody Seems to be Talking About