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More countries consider biometric age verification to access porn sites

online age verification

A bill that makes it mandatory for Canadians intending to visit a pornography site to go through a face biometrics age verification test is raising privacy concerns, National Post reports.

In Australia meanwhile, the federal government says the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) should also consider extending the online digital identity program to age verification for access to pornography, according to ZDNet.

Privacy concerns for Canada porn age verification

The privacy concerns about the move in Canada were raised by the country’s Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien during a recent Parliamentary committee hearing. He was speaking in reaction to Bill S-203 tabled by Sen. Julie Miville-Dechêne, which suggests regulation around access to online explicit content, National Post notes.

According to the lawmaker, the bone of contention is not just with the age verification issue, but the suggested use of face biometrics, arguing that biometric technology is “very intrusive” and there are no guarantees about the level of accuracy of the age verification as there are considerable error margins.

The lawmaker adds that if certain corrections are not considered to the bill, it could “increase the risk of revealing adults’ private browsing habits,” the report mentions.

Although the bill is not specific about the kind of age verification to be instituted, some of the options being weighed include presenting some sort of an ID to a third-party organization, or the use of biometric and artificial intelligence technologies for age verification, the report notes.

While the bill suggests various fines for persons and companies that make available sexually explicit content to young people on the internet, it allows government the powers to order internet providers to block pornography sites in some circumstances, per National Post.

Many other suggestions as to how the age verification process should be done were made during the Committee hearing.

Australia mulls age verification for porn site access

The federal government said it is looking at the possibility of seeing the putting in place of this technology to help protect children from online harm orchestrated by betting and pornography, ZDNet writes.

This reaction by the federal government follows a report of an inquiry by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs into to wagering and pornography which it concluded last year. Australia’s Senate is currently considering the Online Safety Bill, which would bring in mandatory age checks to access online pornography.

The new report contains six key recommendations on how to implement age-verification technology for third party online age verification, with the governing saying it is in support of the move in principle.

“The government is committed to protecting young people while safeguarding the privacy and security of people of all ages in an increasingly digital environment. Subject to the findings of the work outlined above, further technical standards-based work may be required which could include requirements for privacy, safety, security, data handling, usability, accessibility, and auditing of age-verification providers,” it said in a statement quoted by ZDNet.

Among other things, the government has also recommended that the DTA works in collaboration with Australian Cyber Security Center (ACSC) to come up with standards of age verification for certain age-restricted services.

These efforts notwithstanding, the government and other stakeholders agree that technology alone is not the only solution to prevent children from access to certain age-restricted or harmful online content and severities.

FanCentro partners with Yoti for youth law compliance

FanCentro says its service now fully complies with Germany’s Youth Protection Law which obliges all those who buy adult content to have their age verified.

This, the company said in a blog announcement, follows a partnership with Yoti to use the latter’s biometric age verification system. It says the motivation is to provide German buyers with a cutting-age age verification solution and enable influencers sell their products without any worries.

FanCentro said the partnership is important because under the laws, influencers risk heavy fines should they sell content without proper protection.

With Yoti, all German fans can be verified to ensure they are of legal age before they purchase any adult content from any influencer, the statement notes.

Gambling & betting association welcomes EU’s digital wallet move

The recent decision by the European Union (EU) to introduce a digital identity wallet intended to allow citizens within the 27-member bloc access services online, has been hailed as a positive move by the European Gambling and Betting Association (EGBA), Yogonet reports.

According to the gaming news outlet, EGBA believes the novelty could bring about significant changes to the way customer identity is verified in Europe’s gambling sector.

“An ever-increasing number of Europeans are using online services and a common electronic identification method would help them access online services in a practical, secure way that safeguards their data. We welcome the proposal for a Europe-wide e-ID, which would have significant positive impacts on the way KYC is conducted in Europe’s online gambling sector and help establish more common approaches to identity verification. An EU e-ID would, for example, help strengthen existing processes to prevent minors from accessing online gambling and to fight fraud and money laundering,” Ekaterina Hartmann, Director of EGBA, was quoted by Yogonet as saying.

The European Commission has outlined the potential benefit of the new digital identity system, estimating that it could generate €9.6 billion (US$11.69 billion) in benefits for the EU economy and create up to 27,000 jobs over a five-year period.

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