By

Argyro Flokou

One more time age verification turns out to be very necessary for the supervision of underage children. In a recent test purchase survey by the county council’s Trading Standards as part of Knife Crime Awareness Week activity, it is proved that eight out of ten retailers sell knives to underage children. Specifically, it is proved that knives are sold to a 16-year-old.

Despite that, the legislation comforts that buyers must be over 18 years old, very often and specifically in three occasions, a 16-year-old was able to buy a knife from retail premises. The rate of sales increased rapidly with online purchases from five North Yorkshire retailers. There are strict rules which should be followed by the volunteer child helpers who assist Trading Standards. In any occasion, they are forced to tell the truth and to provide proofs for their real age. Also, in online purchases retailers have an obligation to maintain age verification processes to ensure sales of knives are only to those over 18.

A sale of age-restricted products such as knives to minors is considered a criminal offense. This is one of the reasons that Trading Standards is inviting retailers to work with them, to achieve a new Responsible Retailer award for following the rules of legislation. Officers will work with participating outlets to introduce an effective age verification policy and to help training the staff. As Councilor Andrew Lee, the council’s executive member for growth, planning and trading standards, said: “Retailers have an important role to play in ensuring our young people cannot access potentially dangerous products and we urge North Yorkshire retailers to comply with their legal and social obligations.’’ The real solution of these problems is a powerful system of age verification.

The UK Government decided to set up an Internet regulator that would define technology companies responsible for the uploaded content on their websites.

In case of this regulator be established, then new strict sanctions will be imposed on sites that fail to eliminate unsuitable content and illegal material. Among to these proposals, age verification for users of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is also included.

The implementation of these plans is urgent as many calls have been made in recent days for tougher regulation and protection of the internet.

In addition to this, the chief executive of Ofcom, a governmental organism, which is responsible for the broadcasting, telecommunications and postal industries of the United Kingdom, called for similar measures to be taken very quickly.

BuzzFeed, one of many news and media companies, which focuses on digital media announced that it had taken into account the proposals and all the relevant details, which would be put out for consultation later in the year.

Responsible for the elaboration of the legislation is the Department of the Interior and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport and as it seems, a new regulatory framework is scheduled to be done this winter in order to ensure that Internet will stay away from “social harms”. This would also entail the creation of a new entity, similar to Ofcom, for social media and other websites.

Specifically, the Ofcom Chief executive Sharon White supported that some of the biggest Tech Companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube should not differ from the BBC and ITV rules. She also argued that Internet has been constituted a dangerous tool for the one-fifth of the Britons, which means that greater protection is required of any user, let alone children. According to Mrs White’s words, it seems that Ofcom wants to help the Government in order to create and implement a brand new regulator and as Rachel Coldicutt, chief executive of think tank DotEveryone claimed: “The problem with a single body is that the Internet touches everything, so a single regulator would have enormous power.”

AGEify, our innovative solution for online age verification, took place in Webmaster Access 2018 in Amsterdam. The exhibition was held from 7 to 10 September 2018 at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel.

Webmaster Access is the biggest adult industry trade Show in Europe, which is carried out every year from 2006 and this year returned to Amsterdam. It lasted 4 days and over 1000 attendees were there. Webmaster Access presented many talks from various participants such as websites owners, traffic and marketing specialists, content providers, mobile service providers, design services, billing and e-payment providers and more. Throughout the show, a wide variety of events were scheduled, from seminars to networking events and business dinners. Furthermore, Webmaster Access, except for a great experience, it also focuses on offering unlimited Networking and Educational opportunities geared specifically to the LGBT community.

Our participation in Webmaster Access offered us the opportunity to have new contacts as well as to increase business knowledge and profitable business deals.

It’s needless to state how strict the laws are for underage visitors of adult websites that sell or promote age-sensitive goods or services (gambling, porn, alcohol, etc.). Is there a reason to play with the odds?

AGEify works like a passport. You just show it and you are in. It ensures full control of your site traffic and helps Internet to become a safer place for juveniles. Its infrastructure consists of a network of various affiliate authorities and organizations (banks, insurance companies, telecom operators e tc) that have previously physically checked the age of persons. Following this information, AGEify offers to every app user a single ID-code. Every time this user attempts to access an age-sensitive website, compliant with AGEify, he/she only needs to use this ID-code to prove his/her age.

AGEify, our innovative application for online age verification, participated in TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco, from 5 to 7 September 2018, at Moscone West.

TechCrunch is one of the biggest exhibitions in the world, dedicated to startups, workshops, programming and demos at the new categories like AI, CRISPR, blockchain, mobility, crypto-currencies, AR/VR, autonomous vehicles space and robotics. Specifically, this year Disrupt lasted 3 days, focused on breaking technology news and developments with big-name thought leaders who are making waves in the industry. At the heart of the conference lies Startup Alley, the startup exhibition hall, where hundreds of early-stage startups showcase their latest developments. Indeed, throughout the event, many activations, workshops and parties were held and led to networking and discovery within the tech ecosystem.

The AGEify’s team joined in the TechCrunch Disrupt, presenting our innovative application, showing that AGEify is committed to solving the problem of age verification, which exists for many years. Our application constitutes an easy, accurate and privacy-preserving manner, which through several methods, enables the validation of any age, including minors. Currently, the first version of our solution is already available and we are looking for partners to use and expand it internationally.

Specifically, the CEO of AGEify, Kostas Flokos stated that: ‘’Our Age Verification solution (AGEify) has had lots of positive feedback and initial partnerships are crafted. The future is bright, we are very optimistic!’’

After a survey that conducted by North Yorkshire Country Council Trading Standards, a Richmondshire store was found as one of 16 across the country who sold cigarettes to a 15-year-olds.

With no doubt, the sale of such products to minors constitutes a serious crime and the North Yorkshire Tobacco Control Strategy aims to protect young people from having access to tobacco. Trading Standards undertake a regular test purchase and a summer survey found that at 34 percent of the retailers tested, 15-year-olds were able to buy cigarettes.

Specifically, the volunteer child helpers follow some strict rules on the basis of which, they must always tell the truth and provide age verification if requested. In addition to this, local businesses and retailers must not forget the obligation they have to protect children’s health by preventing them from accessing all forms of tobacco and nicotine, which means that they are bound to know the negative consequences of underage sales.

Therefore, Trading Standards is inviting retailers to cooperate in order to achieve a new Responsible Retailer award, which recompenses those who adhere to underage sales legislation. Indeed, officers will work with participating outlets to implement an effective age confirmation policy and also help in the training of stuff.

The online sale of cannabis has changed and became safer for underage children. Specifically, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission unveiled its new website for cannabis sales. The website has a system which asks credit card and credentials for proving the buyer’s age. Personal data such as name, date of birth etc. are also required. If this system doesn’t work and buyers haven’t any credit card, they can upload government-issued identification to verify identity and age match, as Kaleigh Miller, communications officer said. In the situation that the identification also doesn’t work, there will be a barcode for the customer to take to the nearest Canada Post outlet for age verification.

The AGLC is the only legal site for selling online cannabis and cooperates with 15 licensed producers, including Alberta-based Sundial Growers Inc., Acreage Pharms Ltd. and Aurora. The procedure is actually very simple, when the package arrives on the buyer’s home, only 18 years old and above can receive it. And if no one is home the package cannot be left on the doorstep or in the mailbox.

Moreover, in a phone interview, the communications liaison for the commission, Angelle Sasseville, said that she is in negotiation for underrating the shipping so they can make the illegal purchase of drugs less appealing. This website, http://albertacannabis.org, will go live on Octomber 17th and the customers will not only have the opportunity to select from a variety of cannabis oils, dried flower, seeds and pre-rolled joints but they can also get smell profiles of each product. Also, the percent which is allowed for buyers is 30gr per transaction.

Earlier this year, the AGLC announced that OnX Enterprise Solutions had signed a three-year contract with the commission with regard to the implementation and development of the website but at the end of the term there will be an option to extend the contract for three terms for a total of two years each. An additional year could be added at the end, for 10 years in total.

 

 

In Friday, 31/8, in Mingus Cavabar in Kolonaki, we organized an event, inviting the world to entertain and at the same time get to know our new innovative AGEify application, the simplest and safest application for online age confirmation.

The world welcomed the smiling girls of AGEify which together with their mobile phones and tablets helped the guests download AGEify on their mobile phones, showing them how easily and quickly they can become AGEify approved, while preserving their privacy as well and their personal details, thus bringing them instantly and easily into the safe and magical world of AGEify!

The purpose of our event was AGEify’s “first acquaintance” with the public and primarily with the parents, found among our distinguished guests, who, following the guidance of our girls, downloaded their applications and were surprised positively how easily and quickly they can protect their children from exposure to dangers on the internet.

AGEify has come to stay and with absolute certainty it can guarantee all parents that through their advanced technology and their multiple detection methods, their children will stay away from any cyber-content page that has content unsuitable for minors!

As for us, AGEify’s initiators, this event was a great opportunity to discover our own weaknesses and problems that were presented so that we can solve them and put the application to its optimal operation, based on valuable feedback that we have gained since the first acquaintance of the world with our application.

Concluding this special evening, we could say that the crowd seemed particularly happy and satisfied, having had the opportunity to entertain, discuss, get informed and express any questions he had about AGEify, which seemed to fill a big gap in the market and get into the technology field, leaving its own distinct “spot” in the world of applications.

 

WhatsApp is a widespread application, which is used for communicating with friends and family. Nowadays, the largest proportion of adults and kids, who own a smartphone, have downloaded this application.

In recent years, specifically, WhatsApp has many users, who are under 18, since the smartphone usage has risen sharply in these ages. However, in countries in the European Economic Area, including European Union or other countries included in the collection of countries in the European Region, there is an age restriction on users.

Based on the relevant regulations, users must be at least 16 years old in order to register in the application. However, in certain countries like India, users must be at least 13 years old.

But in the case where someone creates an account with false information, then it would be considered as a violation of WhatsApp Terms and Conditions. There is also a service which allows adults to report whether their child is using the application through wrong means. Specifically, parents can show in their children how to delete their WhatsApp account or on the contrary, they could send an email to WhatsApp, including details such as proof of ownership of the WhatsApp number, proof of parental authority and the real child’s date of birth. Then, WhatsApp will disable the account but only if all the above items have been sent.

The U.S. Code Title 18 Section 2257, which protect the underage performers in porn movies, is being jeopardized. Specifically, the 2257 requires from porn industries to keep stringent records on the ages of performers and allows federal agents to inspect them at any time. If this doesn’t happen the sanctions are strict including large fines and up to five years imprisonment for a first offense. But, Judge Michael Baylson made it a lot easier for porn industries to exploit and abuse underage children for profit. He actually, allows primary producers to fulfill age verification obligations by using a form developed by the Free Speech Coalition and worst he exempts major distributors from any record-keeping requirements.

The evolution of this war between porn industries and 2257 began at 1984 when underage Traci Lords is published in Penthouse magazine and this was the beginning of the outcry. After this, Congress enacted the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act, which included Section 2257. In 1996 the rapid growth of pornography on the internet led lawmakers to pass the Child Pornography Prevention Act. The porn industry has fought these regulations and its biggest victory was overturning the 1996 restrictions in a 2002 Supreme Court decision.

The coalition filed many lawsuits against 2257 and claimed that the regulations which have been adopted, restricted the pornographer’s free speech and violated Fourth Amendment protections against warrantless search and seizure. Until then, despite the continuous strikes of different courts against 2257, the regulations didn’t changed and remained intact. Not forever, though.

The trespass of 2257 began in the 2013 case in which the Free Speech Coalition claimed that there was no porn featuring young-looking females. The total jeopardy though, came with the decision of judge Baylson who suddenly was sided with the porn industry and not with the protection of underage children. Nonetheless, compliance with age verification laws is imperative, as the protection of children from the porn industry is clearly more important than economic interests.

 

 

Considering, the criminal law of digital economy which is taken by the U.K government, it is expected porn sites to verify the age of the visitors so as to allow entry only to adults. However, the British government claimed that they are not yet in position to check sites with such content, so they lead to the conclusion that the age verification will be delayed until the end of the year.

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), which is responsible for the age ratings for movies, games and music videos, recently took on the additional role of porn regulator. The BBFC will have the opportunity to abolish porn sites and to oblige those who are in charge for the process payments or manage on-site advertising, to stop working with sites not adhering to the rules. When the best solution is found, then the government will proceed with the approval and the websites will then begin to implement the necessary tools for age verification.

Specifically, the BBFC said that their goal is to find solutions that give people different ways to verify their age. The owner of ‘’Pornhub’’ referred to a system he intends to implement. AgeID is an encrypted connection that can be used by any site, without obliging users to verify their age at a time. This system will not store personal data but only the data that is required to verify that the user is actually over 18. Mindgeek intends to license this tool to other sites as well, with the advantage that the user will not need to connect to each website. The question, of course, remains about how we can be confident about privacy and security.

This is actually the purpose of the BBFC to reduce as much as possible the public’s concern about the transparency and validity of the age verification systems to be implemented in practice.