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Online Age Verification: An Ethical Dilemma

Installing efficient age verifying solutions is profitable both for businesses and the public as it restricts minor access, protects them, and promotes parental consent.

There is growing concern about the role of the internet in the distribution of material affecting children. Under the GDPR regulations, there are now stronger guidelines with regard to age verification for use of products by children and vulnerable adults. The certain industries which are age-restricted, holding their senior executives personally liable for incompetent age verification systems and distributing harmful content distributed on their platforms are preferred.

  • Alcohol.
  • Gambling.
  • Pharmaceuticals.
  • Online Dating.
  • Gaming and Adult Sites.

The programmers and executives of these industries should define the steps to ensure their products are safe by design. This could include the provision of accounts with different settings for children. The terms of service should be easy for children and parents to understand and they should ensure that children are unable to access inappropriate content.

Earlier Methods Of Age Verification:

There are a couple of methods to determine a user’s eligibility

Self- Verification:

The websites/businesses always have an age verification checkbox in their interface confirming the user is not underage for the use or consumption of a particular product. To verify age, it works simply by the user entering their DOB and therefore is easiest to deceive.

Third-Party Age Verification:

There is a tradition of requiring the assistance of a third party; when a physically tangible product is ordered, companies ask the delivery service to verify the age of the customer. The method is a bit more suitable but solely relying on the statement of a third party is a risk. Plus, minors grouped with adults can easily attain those age-restricted or harmful/toxic things

Online Age Verification Through ID Documents:

Due to the limitations of the above-stated methods, a more efficient and advanced verification method is getting common these days: verifying a user’s age through biometric and Id documents. While making an online purchase, registering in a crypto exchange, signing up for age-restricted gaming, the identity of a user can get verified in less than a minute.

The OCR (Optical Character Recognition) model in age verification solutions captures and extracts all information in a structured composition; the authenticity of document and age verification is confirmed swiftly. The advanced artificial intelligence model validates the presented data, furthermore cross-checked by experts.

Know Your Customer’s Customer (KYCC):

This is going about an extra mile but definitely worth it. It’s better to find out what sort of professional alliances the client of a firm has further. It helps in analyzing customers’ profiles and assesses which client might be a threat or risk; if anyone is involved in some suspicious activities. In this context, providing age-restricted goods/services without moral obligations and concerns or due to lack of an advanced age verification solution.

The Efforts To Neutralize The Environment

In North America, COPPA (Children’s Online, Privacy Protection Act) imposes certain restrictions on organizations of different categories for use of their products by underage children.

There’s been a movement to impose restrictions that will affect underage gamers by imposing a digital lock on certain games in China. For games that require parental consent, players under the age of 13 will need to request the game to be unlocked by a guardian.

Disadvantages of not having an Advanced Age Verification Solution:

A business would have to face plenty of setbacks due to the absence of an efficient age-verification solution. To name a few:

Damaged Brand Equity:

  • Protecting minors from inappropriate content is not merely the responsibility of parents but of certain industries as well; the ethical dilemma every company faces at some point. If a firm fails to establish an up-to-date age verifying system, leading to any scandal, raising questions on their ethics. The incompetence or lack of seriousness gets prominent, directly affecting their brand equity.
  • In the same condition, the firm loses its clients or position in the market and pays substantial deposits compensating for their lack of expertise. Everyone remembers how Apple Inc had to pay USD$32.5 M for allowing children to make in-app purchases without the consent of a guardian/parent.

Make the Business Standout for Being Morally Responsible:

With the passage of time, there are a number of corporations providing swift and reliable age verifying services. In order to maximize the potential of a business and gain the vote of confidence of the public, it has become essential for retailers/businesses to deploy those solutions and gain a competitive edge.

All companies/industries need to follow the codes of practice and they need to set out the steps they’re taking to protect children using their products. A robust action must be taken when there is sufficient evidence that children are accessing inappropriate content.

The online age verification services are cost-effective, rapid, and trustworthy and a prime need for both firms operating online and physically in the real world to ensure eligible customer onboarding and protect their brand value. The entire process gets done in few seconds.



Fawad Malik

Fawad Malik Technology geek by heart, blogger by passion, and founder of nogentech dot org. He is an expert in enlightening the latest technology reviews and news to the world and community built around the Nogentech.
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