As the threats in the digital space increase, any person can fall victim to cyberattacks regardless of their age. But it can’t be refuted that children and teenagers are especially susceptible to dangers that threaten to take advantage of their innocence. This is why it becomes imperative to protect youngsters on the internet space which sometimes becomes a big challenge.
As the awareness of providing a safer environment to children increase, a number of new technologies are constantly being worked on. One such technology is Online Age Verification which aims to verify the ages of customers before allowing them access to age-exclusive products and services.
What is Online Age Verification?
Online Age Verification is an automated process in which any identity document of a client is employed to verify the ages of the customers. The automated process is preferred over the manual process since manual verification is tedious and has a high risk of human error.
How Age Verification Works
Online Age Verification asks the user to upload an ID document or any other form of identity documents issued by the government. The software uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology, Machine Learning (ML), and Artificial Language (AI) to verify the age of the customers.
The process is done with three to four steps.
- The client enters his date of birth and shows his identity document bearing his date of birth.
- The software screens the document for default format and compares the date of birth on the document with that added by the client.
- Once the verification process is completed, the results are shown to the client.
The Goals of Online Age Verification
Online Age Verification is done to achieve the following goals:
In order to maintain the privacy of children in an online space, it becomes imperative to keep them out of environments where personal data may be collected and used for marketing purposes. This is normally done without parental consent or sometimes the data is used in such a manner that has negative social implications. In order to combat this, online age verification methods are employed.
It is highly crucial for children to be protected from the potential risks from the dangers of the Internet. These dangers include inappropriate contacts with strangers like advances made by sexual predators or cyberbullies.
Children should not have access to harmful and objectionable content such as pornography, websites related to drug abuse, violence, gambling or other age-exclusive services and products.
Challenges of Online Age Verification
Online Age Verification in its current form faces a number of challenges. Some of them are mentioned below:
- There should be a proper international standard for online age verification and the lack of such standard causes problems.
- To strike a balance between complete certainty of the age of the user and protecting their personal information becomes remarkably difficult. This is because, in order to surely verify the age of someone, a lot of personal information is needed. On the other hand, maintaining user anonymity might involve endangering the safety and interests of children.
- The storage and protection of data are of the biggest concern. As the software for online age verification becomes more advanced, the risk of information theft increases. The more Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is stored in various places, the more vulnerable this data becomes for identity thieves.
If you are a business dealing with age-restricted services or products like alcohol, online gaming, cannabis, or e-cigarettes, carrying out age verification is a legal requirement in the jurisdictions that allow such online activities. The service shouldn’t just fulfill its compliance objectives but it should also be designed in a way that optimizes the experience of the users.