Under Age Sales welcomes laws set out in the Queen’s Speech

Thursday, 19 May 2016

 

There were many new proposals set out in this year’s Queen’s Speech, such as reforms to social care, a change in the government’s plans to force schools into academies and a legal right to fast broadband in every household. Among the statements was that pornographic websites will be made to verify the user is over 18 to enter; a law that Under Age Sales specifically welcomes. This law forms part of the Digital Economy Bill and promises more protection for children online.

It is still relatively easy for young people to access age restricted goods and services online, but there are ways to stop this. In 2012, Under Age Sales was commissioned by the Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO) to prepare a report on the mechanisms available to prevent age restricted sales during online transactions.

There are age verification services available to enable online businesses to verify a customer’s personal details to ensure the person they are communicating with is who they say they are. Age verification companies can check the name, address and date of birth of the customer by accessing a number of independent data sources.

One of the recommendations in the BRDO report, which can be implemented to stop children downloading or viewing adult content, is to apply the ‘2 + 2’ online age verification standard, which is used under gambling legislation. Generally, this age verification method means two positive matches are obtained from two independent data sources, for example name and address confirmed from one data source and the same name and address from an alternative independent data source.

Details of how the Digital Economy Bill and the new laws around preventing children from accessing adult content are still to be released, but hopefully the industry can all work together to take the necessary steps in online age verification to protect children.