The US District Court for the Northern District of California blocked the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act (CAADCA) on Monday. Judge Beth Labson Freeman granted NetChoice‘s request for a preliminary injunction, claiming CAADCA was unconstitutional for violating the First Amendment, violating the Dormant Commerce Clause of the US Constitution by regulating activity outside of California, and ignoring the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
The district court found that “although the stated purpose of the Act—protecting children when they are online—clearly is important,” NetChoice is likely to succeed on their First Amendment claim. Due to this reasoning, the court found that the preliminary junction was appropriate.
CAADCA “declares that children should be afforded protections not only by online products and services specifically directed at them but by all online products and services they are likely to access.” The law also requires online providers to create reports showing how each online product poses “any risk of material detriment to children arising from the provider’s data management practices.” Unlike CAADCA, the federal COPPA only focuses on children under 13 and regulates online services targeted towards children.
NetChoice claimed that the requirements imposed sought to replace “parental oversight with government control.” They also asserted that, “Parents and guardians are best suited to guide the online experience for their children.” NetChoice is a national trade association of businesses that represent companies such as Google, Amazon, TikTok, and more.
The CAADCA passed last year and is expected to go into effect July 2024 but will not be enforced while the case proceeds.