With the proliferation of age-exclusive products and services, minor protection has become increasingly important. These days, children have easy access to age-restricted content over the internet. This not only creates a hassle for online businesses but allows cybercriminals to carry out child identity theft. The Javelin report on child identity fraud in 2018, shows that almost 1 million children had their identity stolen, with most of them were not even 8 years of age.
The traditional age checker at websites could be avoided with a single click by underage minors, gaining access to content and services inappropriate for their age. Regulatory authorities like the European Union enforce laws to protect children from getting exposed to potential cybercrime. Since these regulations are themselves stringent and hard to implement in existing frameworks, service providers of age-oriented products find them difficult to comply with.
What’s the solution?
Since old-school methods of age checks are easily outwitted by clever minors, there needs to be proper ways and means of ensuring whether the individual requesting access to these services is an actual adult or just another minor trying to bypass the system. With recent advances like facial recognition and document verification, age verification services have significantly improved over the past years.
Age verification solutions are now backed with the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence to take down possible age fabrication by minors and restrict their access to inappropriate content.
How Does Age Verification Work?
An online system for age verification takes into account the details necessary for determining the proper age of an individual. The most important item on a provided credential is the date of birth which is used to calculate the current age. An online age verification process involves the submission of government-issued documents that are used to verify identity. Since digital solutions offer remote access to these certificates, the person can scan them with their smartphone camera or webcam on a computer.
An OCR engine on the back-end of the system receives data from the client end, extracts the date of birth and other details like name and address for better identity screening. Once the data extraction is complete, the relevant details are used to create a profile against the user which is used for future verifications and to perform user operations. An age verified consumer can buy age-restricted products and access AO-content since they are legally approved by the age verifier system.
Age Verification in Different Parts of the World
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU states guidelines for protecting the data of minors. Companies acquiring data from minors are held responsible to use it sensibly by providing them services suitable for their age and prevent child identity theft by protecting the information from possible fraudsters.
The Finland-based company, Valimo, issued a press release in which they introduced wireless mobile signatures for age verification. These services are integrated with financial entities and banks around the country and accepted as credible means of verifying age. This provides anonymous access control to the consumers and also serves as an authentication proof for age and identity. By using biometric authentication systems to create electronic IDs, digital services and products can now be distributed across wider audiences with better control.
In the US, the COPPA is of prime importance when it comes to age verification. It issues guidelines on how children can use services provided over the internet, for instance, the federal law prohibits an individual below the age of 13 to create an email, or sign up for a social media website. Furthermore, COPPA states parental control guidelines which are useful for parents in knowing what platforms and online products are safe for their children.
In the UK, the United Kingdom Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) takes relevant measures for the identity verification of children engaging on online platforms and websites. The online child safety audit tool provided by UKCCIS helps educators in the UK to better understand the importance of age verification.
To wrap it up, age verification has different rules and regulations around the globe but all of them come with the purpose of protecting children from inappropriate and age-restricted content and services.