By Jennifer Calfas
June 27, 2017

Facebook is supporting a proposed bill in California that would give incarcerated youth in juvenile detention facilities the right to Internet access.

The bill, AB 811, would allow teens in juvenile facilities to use the Internet as a means to maintain relationships with family members and supportive adults, as well as for education purposes.

“Computer literacy and the ability to communicate with technology are integral to living in today’s society,” Ann Blackwood, Facebook’s head of public policy for western states, wrote in a letter supporting the bill, according to Gizmodo. “It has become difficult to imagine staying in touch with one’s family, searching for a job or conducting a number of daily tasks without access to the Internet.”

“Many teens are placed in locations far from their homes and families, making availability of electronic communication to maintain supportive relationships even more important,” she wrote, according to CNN.

The bill, which was introduced in February, also notes that children in foster care would have the right “to have reasonable access to computer technology and the Internet.”

The United Nations considers the Internet to be a human right. Incarcerated youth in Oregon have also been given access to online resources like podcasts and movies for educational purposes since 2013. Their online browsing history is monitored as well.

The California bill will be considered by the state’s Committee on Public Safety and the Committee on Human Services this week.

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