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Blumenthal weighs concerns of LGBTQ+, civil rights groups on his Kids Online Safety bill

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Ebong Udoma
/
WSHU
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut speaks at the groundbreaking of a new home on West Hazel Street in New Haven by the city's Neighborhood Housing Services on December 2, 2022

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) is listening to concerns from a coalition of LGBTQ+ and civil rights groups that are pushing back on his proposed Kids Online Safety bill.

The groups claim that the Kids Online Safety Act — as currently written — would incentivize big technology companies to collect more data on children. And it would weaken the ability of schools to use certain education technology while empowering local officials to curb access to LGBTQ resources for minors.

Blumenthal is co-sponsor of the bill along with Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

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Blumenthal said the LGBTQ+ groups have valid concerns and he is listening to them.

“We respect the concerns of the LGBTQ+ community about unintended consequences. We want to address those concerns,” Blumenthal said, even if it means not considering the bill during the lame duck session.

“Whatever happens in the next three weeks, we have the next session if necessary to try to protect kids from the abuses online that big tech profits from pushing at them,” Blumenthal added.

The advocacy groups are calling for a pause on the bill, which advanced out of the Senate’s Commerce Committee this summer.

The bill had been considered part of technology legislation that might be considered by lawmakers during the lame duck session.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.