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On October 18, 2023, California Attorney General Rob Bonta filed an appeal to overturn a preliminary injunction issued by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California last month that prevents the enforcement of the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act (“CA AADC”). The appeal was submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and marks an important step in assessing the potential progress of the CA AADC.

In a press release, Attorney General Bonta stated that “We are filing a notice of appeal today to defend California’s first-in-the-nation children’s online safety law. We believe the district court decision is wrong, and that we should be able to protect our children as they use the internet. Big businesses have no right to our children’s data: childhood experiences are not for sale.”

The CA AADC was passed unanimously in the California legislature and was signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom on September 15, 2022. The Act had been set to take effect on July 1, 2024. The CA AADC requires covered businesses to comply with a specific set of rules with respect to online products, features, and services that are likely to be accessed by children – defined as any user under the age of 18. This includes obligations such as estimating the age of child users, configuring default privacy settings to the highest level, and completing a data protection impact assessment before any new products, services or features are made publicly available.

The motion for preliminary injunction was filed by NetChoice, a national trade association of large online businesses, in NetChoice v Bonta, and granted based on the District Court’s finding that NetChoice is likely to succeed on its claim that the CA AADC violates the First Amendment.