Skip to content

OPLIN 4Cast #775: The web wants you to verify your age…or else

Posted in COPPA

Have you noticed YouTube bugging you to verify your age or risk account deletion in the last couple months? The company had to pay a record $170 million fine a few years ago for breaking the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. That, coupled with mounting pressure from regulators (and parents) to force tech companies to do more to protect children online, has spurred a renewed interest in ways to verify users’ ages: not just to prevent children from accessing adult content, but to protect children from the data harvesting that is such a feature of online activity.

  • Anonymity No More? Age Checks Come to the Web [New York Times] “Critics of the age checks say that in the name of keeping people safe, they could endanger user privacy, dampen free expression and hurt communities that benefit from anonymity online. [They also] worry that the requirement will force users to give sensitive information to websites with limited resources to prevent hacks.”
  • Websites hosting porn in UK told to enforce age checks or face fines [The Guardian] “Platforms that have under-18 users but do not specialise in pornographic material or which ban adult content under the terms of their service, such as TikTok and Snapchat, will still be expected to put measures in place to protect younger users from harmful content, such as age-estimation techniques. Age estimation refers to methods that can estimate a person’s age, usually by algorithmic means.”
  • New AI can tell whether social media users are under age [Daily Mail] “Yoti’s ‘Age Estimation’ system — which may well soon be rolled out across social media — can tell how old users between 6–18 are to a 1.5-year margin of error. The software works by comparing the user’s facial features as captured via device camera against millions of other images of Yoti digital ID app users of known age.”
  • American Green goes live with age recognition in biometric vending machines [Biometric Update] “Customers enroll by scanning a driver’s license with their mobile phone and presenting it to the American Green Xpress camera for facial authentication, biometric liveness and age checks. Once enrolled, customers will continue to use the vending machines’ vein recognition from M2sys for authentication.”

From the Ohio Web Library: