Interesting to find out about this initiative through a US source. I have not seen any media coverage elsewhere yet. Sounds like a Private Members Bill which probably will not lead into anything concrete. However, I shall dig further to see if there is any support for this.
U.K. Lawmakers Push for Online Age Verification: “Internet retailers may soon face hefty fines or prison sentences if they fail to implement age verification procedures that will ensure their customers are of a legal age to purchase a wide variety of products and services.”
The new bill, which would mandate online age verification in the U.K., is being sponsored by MP Margaret Moran, as the result of concern over children’s access to adult materials that go beyond sexually explicit items to include knives and other weapons, alcohol, tobacco and more.
“My bill aims to ensure online retailers take their responsibilities more seriously,” Moran said. “Children can now get hold of some very disturbing items, things they would never be able to buy if they walked into a shop. It has to stop.”
Moran cited the story of a 14-year-old that had purchased a pre-paid card from a retail store, despite a requirement that they not be sold to anyone under 18. He then used that card to purchase knives, porn and vodka and to then place a bet with an online bookie.
“It is clear that currently there are inadequate checks put in place by a large number of online retailers and if they are going to continue to drag their heels over this issue then it is up to Parliament to ensure our children are better protected,” Moran said.
It is unclear however, what sort of online age verification mechanism would have prevented the boy’s online shopping activities — which were only enabled after he bought the pre-paid card from a brick-and-mortar outlet where the clerk was supposed to physically inspect the lad’s ID.
Fueling legislator’s concerns are recent surveys that revealed that more than 30 percent of boys aged 13-17 have purchased violent video games and adult DVDs online; while five percent of 14-year-olds have used the Internet to purchase alcohol.
“This is the first time a politician in Europe has called for online age and identity verification to be put on the statute books,” Moran said.
(Via XBIZ.com | News & Articles.)