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👁️🚨 Write Your Representatives - KOSA Is Not OK

The KOSA bill is a threat to the open web. It's time to take action.


EFF says it better than I can. Here's their excellent writeup, and here's a delightfully simple, pre-filled form that lets you write your representatives. It took me literally 4 minutes.

Illustration of a futuristic surveillance state

Now, let's dig into a few of these points.

Power to Censor in the Hands of 50 State Attorneys General #

The KOSA bill would give state attorneys general the power to sue online platforms for content that is "harmful to minors". This is a vague and subjective term that could be interpreted in a myriad of ways. Since numerous states currently have laws on the books claiming that gender-affirming care for trans youth is child abuse, it would only be a matter of time before state attorneys general bring lawsuits against sites that contain content about trans healthcare.

Privacy Nightmare #

Hey, you know how every other week, we hear about another data breach? Per this list of data breaches between 2004 and 2023, the number of leaked records is over 17 BILLION. By forcing sites to implement age verification systems, KOSA would create a massive database of personal information that would be a prime target for hackers. It would be a matter of not if, but when, this data is leaked.

This Is Not The Fix #

As EFF's article notes, "There is no question that some elements of social media today are toxic to users." But KOSA is not the fix.

My Letter #

While EFF's form includes a perfectly servicable letter that you could just send, I thought I'd share my own variation here, written with the help of GPT-4. Feel free to use it as a template for your own letter.

As your constituent, I urge you to reject and publicly oppose the Kids Online Safety Act.

While the fundamental intention of protecting children online is commendable, the ramifications of this bill extend far beyond its purported objective. By endorsing a sweeping measure like KOSA, we risk undermining the very essence of an open and free internet, which has been a beacon of knowledge, innovation, and democratic discourse.

The bill's provision to compel online platforms to deploy age verification systems is particularly alarming. Such systems would not only infringe upon users' right to online anonymity but also create a reservoir of personal data ripe for misuse. This accentuates the risk of private entities, such as identity verification firms like Clear or, amassing unprecedented amounts of sensitive user data.

Moreover, KOSA's design could inadvertently transform state attorneys general into de facto gatekeepers of online content. This has profound implications. If platforms, in their bid to comply with KOSA, preemptively censor content that could be deemed unsuitable by any of the 50 state attorneys general, it would lead to a homogenized, sanitized, and heavily redacted internet. Such broad discretionary powers might result in the loss of access to legitimate, educational, and crucial information simply because it doesn't align with the views of one state's leading legal official. This isn't protection—it's blatant censorship under the guise of safety.

As we stand at this pivotal juncture, I implore you to prioritize the collective rights of internet users. The internet, in its vastness, offers a diverse range of perspectives, and it's imperative that we preserve its integrity. Please champion the cause of internet freedom and privacy, and publicly voice your opposition to KOSA.

Thank you for your attention to this critical matter.

Sincerely, Ethan Stark