Sunny Florida’s latest legislation casts a shadow over personal privacy. Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed HB 3, which requires anyone under 16 to secure parental consent to use certain social media, while outright banning users under 13. Protecting children from online harm is important. Excessive social media addiction impacts children’s mental and social well-being. However, the law is likely to keep all users off social media, unless they upload their government ID cards. Our IDs are the keys to our most important doors in life, but storing them in third-party databases and linking them to our digital profiles turns every login into a potential cyber heist. The looming threat of identity theft could scare countless users off the web who are unwilling to gamble their security in cyberspace. This is an unconstitutional privacy tax on Americans, and a trade-off that shouldn’t be required in a free society.

The law’s vague criteria suggest that services with interactive features or young user bases are subject to compliance. Platforms where at least 10% of users are under 16 will need to verify ages, likely necessitating IDs from minors and parents alike. Adults must also provide IDs to create accounts, while platforms face stiff penalties for not diligently vetting users’ ages.

Additionally, the law requires social media platforms to close accounts owned by individuals 14 and under, or those “presumed” to be 14 and under. But how are social media companies going to determine that? We don’t know because the statute’s text is silent on specifics. However, social media companies often use an age estimation method called “profiling” to determine whether a user is a minor. Profiling involves analyzing elements like a user’s vocabulary and interests, which is invasive and fallible. It is not hard to envision a 25-year-old video game enthusiast mistakenly flagged as a minor.

Importantly, the age verification requirement of Florida’s HB 3 presents serious First Amendment concerns. The Supreme Court has noted in Reno v. ACLU that age verification requirements imposed by the government can be unconstitutional where they erect barriers to adults’ free access to information. The Court recognized that government has a compelling interest in protecting children from harm online. Yet, this precedent underscores the challenge with age verification: technology has struggled to distinguish between minor and adult users without infringing on the latter’s protected speech. The Court recognized that government must consider less restrictive alternatives than bans on minors, like heightened parental controls, where they exist.

And there are practical problems in addition to the glaring legal one. The prospect of personal data being archived or leaked by websites or third-party verifiers could deter adults from using social media, stifling free expression and debate online. The law’s demand for personal data like face scans and government IDs risks cyberattacks on those databases which would eventually drive minors away from valuable online experiences, like connecting with their peers and education. In trying to protect children, the DeSantis administration is compromising everyone’s privacy—this isn’t just oversight, it’s an overreach. Teaching kids to use social media safely is a parent’s job, not the government’s. Just as parents teach their kids to look both ways before crossing the street, they should be the ones to guide them on safely navigating social media. If kids aren’t ready, parents can keep devices out of their hands. DeSantis’ administration has used a sledgehammer to crack a nut—and the repercussions could create splinters that pierce the fabric of our privacy and constitutionally protected online speech.