For all of its benefits and opportunities, the Internet has an undeniable dark side. Realizing this, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell signed four Internet privacy bills this month to make browsing the Web safer for the state’s residents.
One of the laws, the Delaware Online Privacy and Protection Act, was suggested by Attorney General Matt Denn and passed by the state’s General Assembly this year. It was established as an extra shield to Internet users, with a heavy focus on children and access to personal information.
“While the Internet has revolutionized the way we live and work, and made possible countless advances in our society, we must also recognize that it has made our citizens’ personal information more vulnerable than ever,” Markell said in a statement.
Another of the laws bans advertisements on children's platforms from touting guns, tobacco, alcohol or body piercings.
“This new law will be an important tool in protecting our children from these ads and also addressing the issue of companies collecting our personally identifiable information and how they use it,” Delaware House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf explained in the statement.
Another of the new laws prevents technology service providers from selling student data or using it to advertise to students and their families. This is a matter that Congress also is invested in, StateScoop reports. In addition, the new law creates a Student Data Privacy Task Force to research best practices for the preservation of student data within the Delaware public school system.
“It is paramount that educational data is safeguarded as well as we protect our credit card info,” Rep. Earl Jaques said in the statement.
The third bill upholds sexual assault, stalking and domestic violence survivors' online privacy. It prohibits the sale, trade or display of personal information belonging to anyone in the Address Confidentiality Program. Senate President pro tem Blevins added that lawmakers “owe it to these victims to do all [they] can to protect them from further violence.”
Lastly, employers are now not allowed to force employees or applicants to grant them access to personal social media accounts. Rep. Bryon Short, a main proponent of that law, commended the boundaries it establishes. “Giving an employer or potential employer access to those accounts is akin to letting a stranger read your personal journal,” he explained.
Overall, these new laws illustrate how states are fighting to regulate something that’s global and that travels beyond physical boundaries.