Insights

Fixing the Age Assurance Conundrum

10/21/2021

By: Liminal Team

Today, a third of internet users are children. The internet is also an environment that is rich with content that is inappropriate for children and is increasingly offering goods and services that would be age restricted offline. At its nadir, the internet can be a conduit for the very worst of society to gain access to children. Age assurance is rapidly becoming a defining issue for the future of the internet. How consumers access content and how service providers will monetize these consumers is at an inflection point. We are on the cusp of building ecosystems that will enable digital identity to become a significant enabler of high value digital services. However, for the internet to evolve further, it must develop mechanisms for ensuring that children are safe online.

Timeline of Online Age Verification

  • 1983
  • 1989
  • 1995
  • 1996
  • 2006
  • 2013
  • 2016
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 2020
  • 2021
  • 2021
  • 2021

1983

January

The internet celebrates its birthday

1989

Pornography plays a role in the popularization of the internet. Although the USENET newsgroup protocol was initially text-only, the introduction of 8-bit values in ASCII text enables the upload and sharing of images.

November

The U.N. adopts the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most widely ratified human rights treaty and historic commitment to the world’s children

1995

e-Commerce gains popularity. Amazon.com and eBay are founded

July

By 1995, Time Magazine reports that 84% of images on USENET are pornographic

1996

1998

October

U.S. enacts the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) to protect children’s privacy and safety online, including restrictions on marketing to those under 13

February

U.S. passes the Communications Decency Act of 1996 to regulate pornographic material on the internet. The law criminalizes the transmission of obscene content to persons under 18.

2006

2009

June

U.S. passes the Family Smoking Prevention & Tobacco Control Act to regulate the marketing and sale of tobacco to young people across state lines

September

Social networking site, Xanga.com, is fined $1MM for allowing children under 13 to sign up for services without parental consent

2013

2015

November

U.S. FTC approves face match to verified photo identification (FMVPI) as an additional method for obtaining verifiable parental consent

July

U.S. amends COPPA to include additional parental consent requirements for “persistent identifiers” incorporates data retention and deletion requirements for any websites directed towards children under 13

2016

2017

April

The U.K. becomes the first country to pass a legal mandate for robust age verification. The Digital Economy Act of 2017 requires online porn operators to block minors from accessing their site

June

Singaporean mobile advertising network, InMobi, settles charges for tracking geo-location of children without parental consent

2018

November

The E.U. extends the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) raises the bar of online content moderation to protect minors from inappropriate on-demand content on video sharing platforms (VSPs)

May

The E.U. passes the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which introduces sweeping privacy legislation including parental consent requirements for children 13-16 (depending on local Member State nuances)

2019

September

YouTube is fined $170MM for tracking viewing history of minors to facilitate targeted advertising

February

ByteDance is fined $5.7MM for illegally collecting personal information from children; TikTok rolls out a kids-only mode to its app

2020

September

YouTube implements AI moderation to auto-restrict sensitive content and adds age gates with valid credit card or ID for 18+ audiences

July

France follows the U.K.’s lead and introduces nationwide age verification requirements for pornography websites


December

U.K. government raises the gambling age to 18 and reviews its Gambling Act to fit the digital age

December

The China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association (CADPA) introduces age-based rating systems for online gaming; gaming company Tencent introduces facial recognition as additional age assurance

2021

August

South Korea ends its controversial Shutdown Law which bans underage players from gaming between midnight and 6AM

June

E-cigarette company Juul Labs settles its first state lawsuit for $40MM that alleged it sold and marketed its products to underage teens


September

China publishes national 10-year guidelines with new children’s information and privacy protections across gaming, live streaming, social media, and online services

September

The UK’s Age Appropriate Design Code (AADC) extends a higher bar of data protection to all online services ‘likely to be accessed’ by users under the age of 18


September

Facebook halts plans to roll-out a kid’s Instagram, amid pressure from lawmakers and parents groups

There are two subsets of age assurance:
  • Age verification - proof of age using deterministic data derived from trusted and verified sources such as birth certificates, passports and driving licenses, via proxies such as credit cards, or via digitized tokens that confirm that an individual is over a certain age without divulging identity information. Biometrics also falls under age verification when matching an individual to an existing biometric template (1:1 matching). 
  • Age estimation - an approximation of age made via probabilistic data such as behavioral biometrics and capacity testing. Biometrics also fall under age estimation when used, for instance, to assess the age of an individual via their facial structure or the size of their fingerprints.

Search
Generic filters
Filter by Content Type
Select all
Research
Podcasts
Articles
Case Study
Videos
Filter by Category
Select all
Customer Onboarding
Fraud and Risk
Growth Strategy
Identity Management
Market Intelligence
Transaction Services