MySpace is looking for ways to check age online

    Social sites like MySpace are taking an increasing place in teenagers' lives. On these sites, not only friendship and love are born, but also the crimes of the law. Most often these are sex crimes involving minors. It got to the point that law enforcement agencies directly turned to social networks on the Internet with instructions to improve measures to verify age and identify users. But how to do it online?

    So far, no real technology has been found that could identify the user's age on the Internet, writes Wired. For example, MySpace held a series of consultations with technology companies, but they could not offer an effective solution. Representative of News Corp.(MySpace owners) last month even reported to the US Congress about this. The real solution does not really exist.

    Experts even doubt that this problem can generally be solved technologically. Thus, the director of security at MySpace says that the technical solution should be combined with an educational solution, as well as with cooperation with law enforcement agencies.

    Of the more than 94 million registered MySpace users, approximately one in five is under the age of 18. A month ago, the mother of a 14-year-old girl said to the police that a 19-year-old football player was pestering her daughter via the Internet. She sued MySpace for compensation of $ 30 million.

    Recently, a number of technical measures have been implemented on MySpace to protect minors. For example, now to contact a user aged 14-15 , you first need to know his email address or full name.

    However, indicating your own age is still a purely voluntary affair. None of the technical tools for checking age are suitable for implementation on MySpace. Among these tools are credit card verification, as well as more intelligent identity verification systems from IDology and Sentinel Tech Holding's Sentrythat verify the entered addresses, dates of birth and other information with data from other databases (voters database, property owners database, credit base, etc.). Both of these methods are designed to identify adults, but there are also teenagers among users of social sites. They did not take part in the elections, did not have real estate and did not take loans. Most of them do not even have a driver's license under 16 years old.

    It is a driver’s license that can be the most realistic way to check an American’s age. Therefore, some politicians urge social sites to raise the minimum age level from 14 to 16 years. Then the problem would be solved.

    Another possible solution to the problem is the creation of social networks specifically for children. For example, social network ImbeeIt is intended for children aged 8-14 , and you can register in it only with the help of parents, who will enter their credit card number and pay for services. The creators of a similar service “Room Zoey” for girls 10-14 years old themselves checked the identities of each of the 300 girls registered in the service. But this, of course, is not an option.

    Perhaps in the future, artificial intelligence technologies will be created that can automatically collect private information about the user on the Internet. For example, study texts and photographs in his diary and chat topics in order to calculate a person’s age. However, the appearance of such tools is likely to provoke protests from human rights defenders. One way or another, but the problem of determining age online will definitely have to be solved.

    Also popular now: