Proposed law allows parents to monitor a minor's mobile

Summary:Should parents be able to obtain their children's mobile phone records until they are 18?

Arizona is considering passing a bill that would give parents the legal right to view and monitor the text messages of any of their children who are under 18 years old, and so considered a minor.

The legislation, Senate Bill 1219, is currently under consideration in light of parental concerns over online harassment, cyberbullying and what information passes through mobile networks that they cannot supervise or control.

According to Technolog, the bill was proposed by State Sen. Rich Crandall who has six young daughters -- therefore understanding the importance of protecting minors -- and who also wishes to encourage law that may help parents recognize when their children are the victims of bullying or harassment across communication networks.

The bill would allow wireless carriers to offer a service to parents in order for them to view their children's text messages -- which is currently only on option if a court order is obtained. The proposed services mean that parents could pay to opt-in to this feature and be able to monitor their children's activities across mobile networks.

The bill has been approved by the state Senate's Judiciary Committee, however, it would need to be accepted by the state Senate and governor before passing into law.

Parents may view this proposal as a means to ensure their children's safety, but U.S. wireless carrier representatives CTIA believe not only will it conflict with federal law, but is also highly unrealistic to try and implement.

"Under federal law, electronic communication service providers must obtain consent from the content originator, which would be the children, not their parents," said Jamie Hastings, CTIA vice president, in a prepared statement.

Not only is obtaining individual consent unworkable, but it would be difficult for wireless carriers to know how long the consent actually applies. If the bill passes, "a service provider, once receiving a parental request, would have to either independently obtain consent from a minor child or risk violating either state or federal law."

Image credit: Quinn Dombrowski

Related:

Topics: Hardware

About

Charlie Osborne, a medical anthropologist who studied at the University of Kent, UK, is a journalist, freelance photographer and former teacher. She has spent years travelling and working across Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, and has been involved in the running of businesses ranging from media and events to B2B sales. Charli... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.