Where Are They Now?

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Perhaps you have found yourself wondering, "I wonder whatever happened to Katie Sierra, the West Virginia teenager who unsuccessfully fought her high school for the right to wear an antiwar T-shirt and start an Anarchy Club?"

Well, now she's taking on Friendster, which won't let anyone under 18 maintain an account—a measure apparently enacted to protect "children's rights." It's not completely clear to me whether this rule was Friendster's idea or a restriction forced on the company by the law. Perhaps some member of the Hit & Run commentariat can fill me in.

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  1. Friendster can be dating or whatever you want it to be…the problem is that they allow individuals to upload pictures and do not have a perfect system for monitoring the content (they rely on referrals from members), therefore they cannot guarantee that someone under 18 would not get access to “regulated content”…if you know what I mean…so they are playing the safe route and keeping them out altogether.

    There is something called freedom of association and if Friendsters choose not to associate with those under 18, they shouldn’t have to. The constitution doesn’t guarantee a right to join Friendster or any other community.

    P.S. if she wants to join, lie about her birthday. duh.

  2. Obviously a precocious child, she’ll do well once she settles down, sells out and becomes an intellectual property attorney.

  3. Does Friendster require her to sign a contract? Most minors cannot do so legally (at least on their own); and if she is required to sign one, I can see why they might refuse her application. Though, to be frank, minors sign contracts all the time, and no one generally gives a shit since the parents will generally be held responsible for the actions of their children (think DVD or CD “clubs” here).

  4. Given that Friendster is really a “dating” service. I can understand why they’d want to cut down on the number of underage people involved.

  5. At least this time the self-proclaimed anarchist isn’t taking her case to court… yet.

  6. I fought the blog and the blog won.

  7. Xmas: I assume that’s the reason for the rule. What’s not clear is whether that’s a matter of public law or Friendster’s private restrictions. The language in the e-mail to Sierra seems to suggest it’s a government policy, but it doesn’t state that outright.

    This is hardly an issue of earthshaking importance, but I’m curious about it. Anyone know the answer?

  8. “… the parents will generally be held responsible for the actions of their children.”

    I’ve heard that in the trades they call these something like “guilt contacts,” because the parents will clean up the mess the kid made, even if they can’t legally be held responsible. Apparently a large business in signing up kids for credit cards is done on college campuses with this in mind.

  9. Unless I’m missing something, this is not governments policy. The misnamed Child Online Protection Act only governs collection of information from people under 13.

    Rather then use governement action or lawsuits, anyone and everyone under 18 should stop signing up or even browsing to friendster, boycotting companies for stupid feel good policies is something I love seeing.

  10. Friendster is most likely protecting themselves from civil lawsuits and criminal liability in case an adult meets and underage “friend” using their service.

    I wonder if Michael Jackson has a Friendster account?

    Will
    Webmaster: http://www.fortliberty.org

  11. Fasinating, people under 18 should boycott Frendster because it won’t let them sign up? I almost laughed as much at that as I did at Doug Fletcher’s comment about this young lady’s future.

    Shouldn’t she be suing the 10 year old across the street for the “No girls allowed” club he has in his treehouse?

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