Proposed law allows parents to monitor a minor's mobile

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?

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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

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10 comments
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  • Yes, they should be allowed

    Since the courts can hold parents financially responsible for the actions of their underage children, then they should also allow parents the opportuniy to keep tabs on their children, to help ensure their kids do not do, or plan, something which could place a financial burden on the entire family.

    it is only logical. :|
    Tim Cook
    • Agree ... but do we need another law?

      There are MANY laws in the books that should apply to the situation without the need to write another one.
      wackoae
    • Logic smacked down by human nature...

      You trust a cell company to not hand out your information to someone claiming to be your mother or father when they know the law is on their side and all they have to say is "Well, that's what they told us"? I barely trust them to know it's me they are talking to. If there are not the strongest safeguards in place, and I have no reason to think there will be, an idea like this will make the News Corp phone hacking scandal seem like the good old days when journalists actually had to work to illegally access voicemail from unsuspecting victims.
      jasonp@...
      • is this post for real????

        also is this blog for real?

        #1. until child is under parents rules and uses parents phone account
        no low is needed. the telco company does not know who uses the phone, I do. so I can call the company, provide proper authentication as an account holder/owner and request records for ANY(all) lines on the account. they (telco) will not give me any info if I can not provide proper identification to indicate that I AM the account owner or user with Account administration privileges.
        I opened account, I pay for it , I own it....

        even today, only an authorize account administrator/manager can request information and usually the info will be send to you to email/home address on file. and nowhere else...

        so why we need another stupid law????
        vbp1
  • If service providers could be trusted, fine...

    but we all know they can't. The stock response when they are found to be providing access to adult accounts to someone claiming to be a parent will be "well, we can't keep up with everybody". This is a horrible idea and will result in such a degradation of privacy that it may well destroy the market if it takes root. Don't trust your kids enough to not spy on their phone activity, don't allow them to have a cell phone.
    jasonp@...
    • In the words of Reagan: Trust, but verify

      I don't trust my kids in any and all things, because they are not mature enough to know how to deal with every situation. It's not that they are "bad", but they don't have the experience to deal with bullying, being sexually harassed, or any of the other thousand things that can arise from using their smartphones.

      So there are rules, like having the phones downstairs during homework times and after bedtime. The kids know that we respect their privacy, but if there is a problem in schoolwork or behavior, we start checking things. It's not a matter of trust, but situational awareness.
      terry flores
  • I'm totally confused.

    My kids both have cellphones, but they are in my name and I am responsible for the bill. If I ask the cellphone company to provide details for the usage of MY phones, there should be absolutely no problem.

    As for obtaining consent from a minor, contract law is quite clear in most cases: minors are the responsibility of the custodial parent, and the parent is responsible for providing consent, not the child.
    terry flores
  • Cell Phone Monitoring

    Since when does a parent need permission to be a parent? Are we not legally responsible for our children until they are 18 anyway? Even if a minor purchases their own phone (which I submit is extremely rare) they are still a minor. My child - my responsibility...for everything they do and everything they have.
    kgorman@...
  • I see it this way

    If I'm the one paying the bill for my minor child to have a cell phone then yes I DO already have the right to see who my child is calling or who is calling my child, see who my child is texting or who is texting my child, see what my child is doing with a phone I am paying for.

    IMHO it's no different than a company issued phone - the have the right to see who their employee is calling or texting (and who is calling or texting their employee) using the company issued device they are paying for. Why should it be any different with a child and their parent who is paying for the phone and the monthly service?

    Can someone tell me why we should have to legalize common sense?
    athynz
    • Unneccessary law

      Leave it to Arizona to come up with another law that is both unneccessary and in conflict with the feds.
      Pete and Terry have it right. When my kids were younger they were on my cell plan under my name. Hence no law needed for me to check the usage of my phones!
      harrim47