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Brief of Amici Curiae Chamber of Progress, Consumer Technology Association, First Amendment Coalition, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, IP Justice, LGBT Tech, The Trevor Project, and Woodhull Freedom Foundation in support of Plaintiff-Appellee Netchoice, LLC

Woodhull Freedom Foundation joined the Chamber of Progress and six other organizations in an Amicus Brief challenging California’s Age-Appropriate Design-Code Act (CAADCA), which was initially passed in September 2022.

The stated goal of the law is to protect minors’ online data. While this is an important goal, CAADCA is overly broad and violates First Amendment protections. We joined several organizations in filing an Amicus Brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in support of NetChoice, which is challenging the law. 

The full brief is available for download on this page, but an excerpt of the brief and our basic objection to CAADCA is below. 

“The Internet has flourished under the strong First Amendment protections affirmed in Reno v. ACLU, 521 U.S. 844 (1997). Websites today publish an endless multitude of content, offering diverse perspectives and ideas, shining in technicolor for anyone to access at the click of a button or tap of a screen. Starting from a young age, people use websites to express themselves, connect with others, and learn about a world beyond what they experience in their everyday lives. Websites are the “principal sources for” everything from learning about “current events” to “speaking and listening in the modern public square” to “otherwise exploring the vast realms of human thought and knowledge.” Packingham v. North Carolina, 582 U.S. 98, 99 (2017). 

California’s AADC would completely upend this bustling marketplace of ideas. Although characterized as a privacy statute, the AADC fundamentally regulates speech. It would impose an arbitrary system of prior restraints and restrict speech based on content, viewpoint, and speaker, forcing websites to ban and block any content that someone might consider inappropriate for children. Websites would also be forced to employ privacy-invasive age-verification methods, creating a major privacy risk at odds with California’s purported aims. And upholding the law would invite other states to adopt speech-based restrictions on websites, fracturing the Internet as each state pursues its own agenda regarding what is considered “safe” for children. Equally concerning is the potential for a single state to be left to dictate national Internet policy in an effort to resolve this fractured array of state laws.”

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