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Age verification measures by online businesses inadequate: Jumio survey

Gambling site takes 48 hours to determine cough drops do not prove age
Age verification measures by online businesses inadequate: Jumio survey

As evidence of the risks associated with social media use among youth continues to accrue, more Americans think social platforms should strengthen their age and ID verification technology, according to a survey by Jumio.

Just 37 percent of respondents were confident that social media sites are committed to shielding minors from age-restricted content through digital ID verification measures. And while 60 percent agreed that parents and guardians bear the ultimate responsibility for protecting their children, 80 percent said social media sites should make age verification among their top priorities.

Online gaming, gambling and betting sites also scored low on the survey, with fewer than half of respondents saying platforms are adequately protecting children through age verification.

The survey suggests people recognize certain dangers. For instance, 76 percent believe social media platforms should hold users accountable for hate speech. But the risks associated with social media and other addictive online activities are complex and varied. In many cases, they go beyond established laws.

This week, a London coroner concluded that Molly Russell, a 14-year-old girl, “died from an act of self-harm while suffering from depression and the negative effects of online content,” according to the Guardian. Russell had accessed graphic content related to suicide, which was subsequently promoted to her algorithmically for months.

Meanwhile, in the gambling world, Stake.com, a company that has partnerships with the Premier League team Everton FC and the Canadian pop star Drake, is coming under fire for allegedly skirting national restrictions on crypto gambling and age restrictions in the UK. An Observer reporter uploaded a photograph of a packet of throat lozenges as proof of age, which worked for 48 hours before the account was suspended.

The Guardian report also suggests that Stake.com’s anti-money laundering checks are not preventing gambling with cryptocurrency from jurisdictions where the practice is effectively barred.

Governments are responding to concerns about inadequate online protections, in the form of new legislation to address age verification, biometric identification technologies, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other hot-button digital ID issues.

In September, California passed a bill requiring online platforms to “consider the best interest of child users and to protect their mental health and wellbeing.”

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