Safeguarding Podcast – Age Verification with the DPA

 

Rudd Apsey, Director of the Digital Policy Alliance (DPA) guides us through the intricacies of Age Verification. What is it, how does it work, who does it apply to and is it secure? Will we need Age Verification for everyone? Will it lead to a dystopian society where free speech is suppressed, or is it a tool for liberation? All this and more in this edition of the SafeToNet Foundation’s Safeguarding podcast.

In case you prefer to read rather than listen, here’s a transcript of the podcast:

Neil Fairbrother

Welcome to another safeguarding podcast from the SafeToNet Foundation. Today’s podcast is all about age. It tries to answer the question, “How old are you?”.

Her Majesty’s government has stated that they want the UK to be the safest place for people to be online, and as part of this, they want to keep children off adult sites, which means that somehow the adult entertainment industry needs to verify the age of people signing up to their services. Are they children or are they adults? Are they over 18? This is a process called Age Verification, and today’s guest will guide us through the various complexities, technical, commercial, and indeed legal…

Rudd Apsey….Thank you for inviting me over to office over in Canary Wharf. Could you give us a precis of your background in this area? What’s your involvement?

Rudd Apsey, DPA

Okay. Well, I’m, I’m talking to you today as a Director of the DPA, which is the Digital Policy Alliance, which is a group chaired by a Peer, Lord Errol, who attempt to brief Government on the practicalities, particularly in the technical sector, of legislation that they’re looking to pass. Often the best intentions for a law can sometimes founder on not understanding the technical implications of what they’re doing.

Age Verification came to the DPA’s attention four years ago and primarily it was coming out of the Cameron agenda at the time of making the Internet a safer place [esp. for children]. The Chair had had quite some experience in citizen ID and digitizing of identity, and he took this as a project that he felt should bring together a team of experts and people working in various sections, to bring them together to create briefing papers and notes and make sure that we get some workable legislation.

Neil Fairbrother

Okay. Now it does sound like quite a contentious topic, because there are bound to be privacy concerns here, there are children involved here and because we’re talking about the adult entertainment industry there are some very personal issues here. So how does Age Verification work, if indeed there is such a thing as Age Verification, whilst keeping all of that type of information private and secure?

Rudd Apsey, DPA

Yeah. This is the biggest challenge if the whole brief really. Under the Digital Economy Act, which just passed into law in 2017, Section 3 requires website owners serving content to UK citizens to have a form of Age Verification in place. It doesn’t specify what that methodology should be, but it does indicate it should respect, privacy and anonymity.

So this isn’t about creating one central Government database where people register, which has been a method used by other countries in Europe and Germany in particular has a central registry methodology for accessing adult content. So at the moment we’re at the very edge of what in a data world, they call probability. So I don’t need to know your name, but I do need to know some indicators about you that tell me that you are over 18. Don’t give me your exact age, but [tell me that] you’re over 18.

So that’s the sort of technical challenge. There’s a number of ways we can do that. We can search for credit information, or an electoral roll type of information, to check that you are who you say you are and your date of birth is correct, which is a similar sort of check that you would have gone through if you take out a loan or you do some banking. They always ask for your date of birth and passport.

There’s documentation that could be associated with you; passport and driving license [for example], there are different ways of sounding out your paper identity in the passport and driving license world. Two years ago, we were simply looking at modelling data, taking information from the passport itself and sense checking that against some other information that you’ve given us, so that we know in probability you’ve got that document on your person at that time. In the last two years that’s now moved on to where we can take a picture of those documents and extract your date of birth information from the document itself.

Neil Fairbrother

Taking a scan of someone’s passport and extracting information, that sounds like really quite a contentious thing to do…

Rudd Apsey, DPA

Very much much so. I’m talking about laboratory conditions here and this is where the DPA comes into reality, really. That’s all fine. It’s all technically possible to do, but we have to hit the reality of the environment and the industry that these checks are going to be undertaken in. And the DPA, with the people that we brought together, and I’ll just touch on the sort of people that we brought together. We brought experts from the data industries, your Experians, your Equifacts, your GBG groups. These are the people that handle most of the credit profile information that’s used in the United Kingdom. We brought experts from security, we brought people from the adult industry itself. We spoke to charitable organizations like the NSPCC to try and understand what was going on out there.

So we brought these people together and we decided very quickly that we needed a standard. We needed some way of making sure that this wasn’t “Christmas” for those trying to steal data information. And we’re talking about a large number of people here. MindGeek, who own some of the largest adult sites in the world, are talking about in the first year, 25 million UK citizens will need Age Verification. That is a phenomenal number of people.

Now when you look at the scale of that, it’s a Herculean task, technically in terms of security and personal credentials. Half the population can now be profiled in some way or another. So we introduced this standard and we worked with another expert group from British Standards [Institute] and the people in the industry sector, the growing sector of Age Verification, funded the creation of PAS 1296, which is now a Publicly Accessible Standard that’s publicly accessible.

Neil Fairbrother

That’s what PAS means – Publicly Accessible Standard and that means that anyone can download this document, read up on it.

Rudd Apsey, DPA

Yes, they can. What it’s about is taking an age attribute where the website itself doesn’t receive the data. This is the first step. If I give you a different example. When you go to pay for something on a credit card and you enter your credit card number in the site, that number doesn’t go to the site owner. That goes to the banking network and there are security wraps around that, so the information that you put into a credit card form on a website doesn’t hit the website at all. It hits the banking network, the banking network checks that that’s a valid card, checks that it’s owned by you and that you have the money on your account to pay for the goods. Once we know that information, we simply tell the site it’s OK, Rudd’s card works and we’ve taken £25, you’ll receive it in a week.

That’s roughly the information the website gets and the consumer’s card details are protected. So we needed a way of doing that similarly with Age Verification. So, without lecturing you on the standard itself, but the principle will be very, very similar. Age Verification Checks will be undertaken by people offering attribute provision like Equifax and Experian or companies like us. And as a result of those checks, we will simply pass a “Yes” or a “No” to the website whether that person has passed or not.

Neil Fairbrother

Right. So presumably then the inference is that if a person does not have a card credit card or a debit card, they therefore must be a child?

Rudd Apsey, DPA

It’s not as simple as that. There are some things that we know that we can assume. If you make a purchase using your credit card, you must be over 18 because you can’t own a credit card if you’re under 18. If you put a debit card in the system, now that can be owned by someone as young as 13.

So, there are card gateways now which will trigger an Age Verification request. So, it will say you’ve gone to purchase this movie, or you’ve gone to buy this knife, or you’ve gone to buy an e-cigarette. You’ve submitted a debit card. Unfortunately, a debit card is not a robust method to prove your age. Please check select one of the following methodologies for Age Verification.

Neil Fairbrother

And what might that be in the context of a child? Because they won’t have a driving license.

Rudd Apsey, DPA

Nope, they won’t. We’re in the closing stages of the regulatory framework from the BBFC [British Board of Film Censors]. So, at the moment we have a credit card, because you’re over 18, we have a mobile phone where the content lock has been lifted and I’ll just explain that for your listeners.

When you purchase a mobile phone, or you get a mobile phone, it comes with a SIM inside, which we all understand. And that carries information about the unique phone number, your phone number. When a phone is shipped to you, or your phone number is shipped to you, it has “content locks” in place. So those locks were put in place quite a while ago. They came from the days when we used to look at our mobile phones via the GPRS network, not WIFI. So we know whether your phone number has an age lock associated to it or not.

To have an age lock removed, you have to contact your network operator, and during that call with your network operator, they’ll undertake some age checks for you.

Neil Fairbrother

Okay. This is now getting quite a complicated process because you’ve got the content websites who’ve got the content, but they don’t see anything at all to do with the age, you’ve got the credit or debit card companies involved, and then you’ve got the mobile phone companies involved.

Rudd Apsey, DPA

Yes. So the mobile phone company will take some questions for you on the phone. The content lock is for adult content, gaming and gambling, that’s what they’ve put them in place for on mobile phones. It’s unique to the United Kingdom. It’s an attribute that supplied to mobile phones purely in the UK, elsewhere in Europe it’s not, it’s just UK numbers.

So organizations like ourselves undertake some checks with their mobile network and your handset to find out if you have this age bar lifted. If you have, we’ll notify the website to let this person in, they are holding a mobile phone of someone who’s over 18 and has that age content bar lifted. So the network is purely looking to verify whether he should lift the content bar or not, they are not interrogating what you’re looking to look at or, or a home address or anything like that. They just want to make sure that you are of a suitable age to have that bar lifted.

Neil Fairbrother

Okay. So, that begs the question, what if a child uses elder brother’s or parents phone or nicks the credit card and uses that?

Rudd Apsey, DPA

I can be totally honest with you. There’s no way of stopping that completely.  You know, I think we’ve all been in scenario where we’re going to a party and someone’s older brother goes and buys a cider. What we’re trying to avoid here is “stumble upon”. That’s what Government are trying to stop, to stop children’s suddenly being presented with hardcore pornography. That’s the aim. What we’re trying to do is to make it more difficult for people to get around the Age Verification system. So, in the mobile phone scenario, I’ve got to take Dad or Mum’s phone, I’ve got to enter or Dad or Mum’s phone into the gateway. I’ve then got a respond to a text message that comes in on Mum or Dad’s phone, answer Verify on that phone, have that checked in a few seconds and come back. So I’ve got to do quite a lot to do it.

Neil Fairbrother

Yes. And I guess with Finger ID and Facial ID now becoming quite normal on cell phones that’s getting harder and harder to do?

Rudd Apsey, DPA

Yes. And the regulator is developing methodologies at the moment where we would be in a situation where instead of knowing Dad’s date of birth and where he lives, and every kid’s going to know how old Mum and Dad are, that type of search and look up will be required to be associated to something else. There’s going to have to be “two step” for information that is in the public domain.

So that is why there has been a movement towards things like driving licenses. Driving license is really quite a common ID card for someone who’s around 18, 19… you are going to be challenged in nightclubs. Even my fair self, at 58, was challenged for Age ID in Covent garden recently. But the driving license is the most popular way, really, for younger people.

Neil Fairbrother

There are people though like me who through no fault of their own have had to rescind their license. I don’t have a driver’s license anymore because of health issues. So, what do I do?

Rudd Apsey, DPA

Well, I actually, I don’t know because we haven’t covered that one yet. There are people with disabilities, there are people without documentation. The methods that are out there for you today are your credit card or your debit card, your driving license, your passport. There are other methodologies around the ownership of the phone. So I think most of where we’re moving with Age Verification is going to be phone related, so if you don’t have a phone, or you’re on a pay as you go phone, we’re starting to move down a path where you potentially won’t gain access at the moment.

Neil Fairbrother

Right. Okay. So that raises an interesting point because it’s almost becoming without the phone, then you are no longer a person.

Rudd Apsey, DPA

Yes. But if I look as I go to work, I think most people are wandering around, trying to look at their phone and no one else. I mean we’ve been running these gateways, forget the legislation that’s coming down the tracks, we’ve been running these technologies for the last four years for regulations that apply to late night TV. On late night TV, you can have decrypted TelevisionX. TelevisionX is probably one of the most well-known late-night channels and we see from our statistics that the consumers prefer mobile phone first. I think that’s because it’s close at hand and it’s relatively anonymous. The next most popular is the driving license.

Beyond that, the other methodologies.. I think through a bit of skepticism, you know, should I really be putting my passport details in a porn site? Or not wanting to go upstairs and rattle around the bedside drawer at 11 at night trying to explain to your partner why are you trying to get a passport out and you’re not on the EasyJet site…

So clearly that’s sort of where the consumers seem comfortable. There’s also issues about what you’re looking at. And I’m sure you have some questions later on about protecting citizen ID. I mean, if my mobile phone number appears against the website, I think my partner would believe that maybe those sneaky Russians had stolen my mobile and it’s “Oh God, how did that get there?” But if the same data breach has a picture of me holding my passport, I really am in the library with the candle stick, you know? I can’t say someone set me up. So I think this whole picture ID piece is something that’s got to be handled with lots of integrity.

Neil Fairbrother

Yes. And as far as I understand it, the legislation covers this area for adult entertainment has a couple of exemptions. One is if the content is free and the other is if the percentage of content on the site is less than 30%. But most of the adult sites I believe are ad supported rather than [subscription based].

Rudd Apsey, DPA

Well yes. Did they tried to define what pornography is? I mean I think we sort of all know, what pornography is. What the legal eagles decided was two things. If the content was sexually stimulating for financial return, that was pornography. So, if I put something up there and I’m charging for it by pay to view or I’m running a free Youtube site model where my revenue streams are coming from either subscription or primarily advertising, that is pornography.

If I’m a blogger, blogging on the subject of sexual health, transgender issues – that is not pornography. This is the Lady Chatterley argument in 2018. You know, this isn’t for sexual gratification. This is for education or commentary purposes and that that’s where the line has been drawn.

Neil Fairbrother

Okay. And social media companies such as Facebook, the poster child of social media companies is not regarded as that kind of website because it primarily, it doesn’t cover that kind of content?

Rudd Apsey, DPA

No. So we pushed hard on this because in the DPA we had people there from the adult industry and they said, “Well hang on a minute, you know, yes, it’s obvious what we do, but have a look at what’s going on, on social media”. It really stems from I think about four years ago now, Google stopped accepting advertising for people promoting adult services, so the marketing route for the adult industry moved to other platforms. Twitter attracted a lot of interest, and so did Instagram. The sort of “catch all” in this from the Government legislation is that they deem that if the site has more than 30% of its content is pornography, it would be captured by the regulations.

Now, we’re not at the levels of 30% for Twitter, but we are seeing indications of Twitter closing accounts down, so I think it’s stimulating the debate about what they going to do about this, they’re under enough fire as it is. Facebook has done a lot to get a pornography off it, so has Youtube. Instagram has actively said they’re trying to take it down, so we know they’re making efforts.

But to answer your question, there isn’t a catch all for those sites because 30% would be quite high. There was one of those reality TV shows where it was a voting channel for one of the young male contestants, and in the midst of that Hashtag, boom! a link came in from a gay porn site. You know, parents aren’t ready for that.

You know, Twitter is not all about Stephen Fry, there’s a lot going on, on Twitter. But also from a political point of view, we understand that Twitter really is a good communication tool for politicians. You know, the demise of your local paper, how do you see politics in action in your local community? Well, that’s sort of Twitter now.

It’s also the main public information platform now. If there’s terrorist incident or that there’s an element of national security, Twitter is one of the main distribution channels for information. So it’s not about taking Twitter down, it’s about taking control of some of its content.

Neil Fairbrother

Yes. Now, this legislation obviously covers the UK, it’s British Government legislation, and I believe that when a similar method or similar rules for Age Verification were introduced in Germany, the result was that the content providers simply shifted their content out of reach of German legislation, so is there that risk here?

Rudd Apsey, DPA

No, there isn’t that risk here, because of the sort of people we pulled together, we learned a lot more about the German system. So, with the German regulation, the German government had a very good relationship with Google, and when they formed the regulations, they put them around a “.de” domain. If your site was hosted in a .de domain, you have to have Age Verification in place. Plus, you had to have some code in the sites’ metatags…

Neil Fairbrother

What’s a “metatag”?

Rudd Apsey, DPA

If you imagine above a page of your content, hidden in the margins, is the code that enables people to find that page ,and that’s your metatag. It’s a long search string, but what it means is, when it hits your house and goes through your broadband hub, if the hub detects this piece of code that the German government had put in, a verification is triggered by the hub automatically.

So there was a number of things that they put in place, which are quite good. They also went down, and I can’t imagine the Brits doing this, they also went down a method where you’d have to go to your local Post Office with your German citizen ID card and ask for adult access. And I think my post lady would be quite shocked if I wanted to look at porn now! But bless them, the Germans did that. So in Germany now they have systems really that combine a picture of the citizen ID card and then some “likeness” testnwith your facial picture.

Neil Fairbrother

Okay. Well, we should have left the EU a few days ago, but we’ve got an extension. Is there not then an EU-wide approach to this and should we end up leaving the EU, which seems to me more and more in the balance, but should we end up leaving would we have to implement any EU-wide legislation anyway because we still want to trade with the EU?

Rudd Apsey, DPA

Well, if I just follow on the German example. What we did in the UK and what the regulators have done and what we advised and sort of pushed hard to make sure is that, in the UK, if you’re serving adult content online to UK citizens, it doesn’t matter what domain your site is on, if it can be viewed in the UK, that site must have Age Verification. So that was a big decision.

Neil Fairbrother

Okay. So whether it was a dot com, dot co dot UK, dot EU, dot biz, dot whatever, if it’s serving content to UK residents in the UK, you’ve got to have Age Verification?

Rudd Apsey, DPA

And that’s why, and I’ve spoken on the subject quite a lot in America, that’s why there’s so much interest over there. Because originally, you know, it was all freedom of expression and you know, we’re in America, we can do what we like, we were all making America great again. Well, you can’t, not according to our citizens. It’s OK, if you’re going to trade with us, then these are the terms that you trade off. That’s the sort of principle that we’ve put in place.

Neil Fairbrother

Okay. Now, there is a view that this kind of age verification could, or even potentially should, be extended beyond the adult entertainment history and into mainstream social media sites. We know that the minimum age is supposed to be 13 on most of them, 16 in one or two cases, but we also know that there are a lot of underage children on these sites and we know that, from data from the NSPCC for example, 13 seems to be the peak age for being sexually abused. So, is there an argument that says that actually we should have, I mean the Age Verification checks that they’re using on social media is pretty porous, it’s pretty feeble, is there an argument that says that we should have a much tougher approach to Age Verification?

Rudd Apsey, DPA

I think there is. I come from traditional “dead tree” media as they call it now, printed magazines and publications, and there are lots of things that have worked for a long, long time. You know, in the adult sector it’s been about putting stuff on a higher shelf so it can’t be seen. There’s no reason in the modern world why we can’t, with the technology we have available, get back to the principle of the “Mark 1 eyeball”. You know, if I walk in a shop, the shopkeeper is looking at me to check I’m probably over the age of 18 or I’m not going to go and buy these fireworks or I’m not going to buy an air rifle. So I don’t think it’s a technology challenge at 13 because the data sets are there, but they are held for different reasons.

The education data set is a classic example. Every child has a unique number when they start, I think it’s at nursery school, but it definitely follows them all the way to their adult lives. So we have data sets that clearly track date of birth. We have standards that are used for, you may have seen them in the shops where people try and get an ID card that they can use at nightclubs, there are standards for those. And that usually revolves around a responsible adult or organization verifying the person on their behalf. So I think we may see these sorts of things around technology. There are challenges there as you say, with child abuse and things at 13, we didn’t want grooming going on and people verifying people that shouldn’t be [verifying them], but the technology is not the challenge now, the challenge now is how we take responsibility for this data that we hold and we use it as a positive.

Neil Fairbrother

Is it more of a cultural thing, do you think?

Rudd Apsey, DPA

Well, as a nation we’ve always pushed against ID cards, we are not comfortable with that, and I think GDPR has changed the landscape a lot. You know, the idea now you’re going to get inundated with a load of direct mail because you’ve entered your email into a Caravan Club website or something… it doesn’t exist because you have to have opt-in permissions. And I think those laws and the fines around GDPR, I mean companies like us would face over a quarter of a million Pound fine if we breach data that we may hold on people.

I do think we’ve got a good legislative framework. I think we’ve got some good innovative technology. I think it’s about the politicians getting together and deciding how they want to use that as a positive force. It is absolutely wrong that a person, for their first sexual awareness, sees hardcore pornography or has people shaming them for what they’re wearing. We do need to take care of it. We really do.

Neil Fairbrother

Talking about duty of care and the need to take care of people, one of the issues that a lot of young children face, and indeed adults as well, is one of “catfishing”, the practice of being approached, groomed, by someone pretending to be younger than they are. In the social media context far as children are concerned, you may have an adult 35, 40 years old, whatever age, who has set up an account and he’s pretending to be 13 or 14. Now it seems to me that the only way around that is to Age Verification for everyone.

Rudd Apsey, DPA

Yes. There’s technology to do what you say now, and some of that has come out of this, because the Age Verification market in the UK is the first in the world, really. You know, if this legislative framework push works, I know from the emails I received, there are a number of countries around Europe watching with interest this program’s progress in the UK.

Governments are starting to want to get control of this. It’s costing their economies a lot of lost taxation. It’s causing conflict with our citizens, it’s distorting the political process. We need to get control of this and I think a lot of governments see this. The technology that’s been around verifying who people are is already there today. It would be very interesting if you had that identity technology associated with your Twitter tag, so we can really find out who’s saying what!

I am hearing in Westminster that this whole debate of citizen ID is surfacing again that, [they are asking] should we revisit this now?

Neil Fairbrother

So the abuse of social media by alleged Russian agents may well have an unintended consequence where we all end up with ID cards?

Rudd Apsey, DPA

Yes, well it’s upset the politicians. I mean, we as a nation, we’ve tended to come together with great disasters. You know, the 911 in America, the 7/7 bombings in London. There’s a great rush for “We should know who’s in our country” and then it all dies down. But now you’re starting to interfere with the political process, when you’re starting to get MPs get some extremist assaults, that’s getting to the heart of the State. And I think it’s going to start a discussion again about how we deal with it.

Neil Fairbrother

If we just focus back on children – so there may be some unintended consequences of all this. For example, at the last DPA meeting, there was a very interesting conversation with an online retailer, a retail business, 100% online, it’s not a “bricks and clicks” company, It’s a pure online retailer. They do a significant amount of business every year selling regular knives, kitchen knives, such as you or I might use every day. And their view is, “Well, yes, we get the argument about Age Verification for purchasing these things that’s absolutely fine, we could do that. But for us, this is a really marginal business. It’s a nice income stream, but the margins are very, very tight and there is no verification of the recipient.”

In other words, you may well have a perfectly fine Age Verification system for the purchase of the knife and it may be the older brother or the older cousin or the gang leader buying knives and then passing them on to a younger person to do whatever. How can that be addressed?

Rudd Apsey, DPA

Well, this is another problem with the way the economy is. I was a in Dunhelm with my wife buying some curtains and there was a whole list of items in the shop that they said that they were going to ask for ID and knives was one of them. But when you look at this problem, if you look at how Amazon reacted particularly to that fatal stabbing in Glasgow, I think it was in the school playground, they now along with UPS, run a service where they will only deliver the package to the person who answered the door if they are over 18 or appears over 18. So at the moment there is a sort of revision to the “Mark 1 eyeball” and we relying on busy van drivers on minimum wage to make these decisions, to ensure that happens.

There are technologies that will enable people to do that, again, driven around the mobile phone. So these sort of Age Acts that we’ve spoken about before have a lots of different multi-functionality, primarily around 3D barcode. So what would happen is that the person would have to scan the parcel with their mobile phone and that will check that they’re over 18, and they get a delivery receipt and the name of the person who collected it.

In the research I’m involved with at the Post Office in Holland, the consumers are quite happy to do Age Verification if it’s the delivery of an expensive item, like a mobile phone or an iPad. But when you say, I want to Age Verify you for a knife, they look at you as if…why?! I think as a society, we’ve got to decide what we’re doing.

They have the same problem with home delivery of alcohol, e-cigarettes, it’s a big, big problem. I know the technology’s there to do it. The question is, is there the will of the people and Industry to adopt those technologies?

Neil Fairbrother

Yes. Because there is the fear, I guess that we might end up in the same space that China seems to be going with “citizen scoring” and rights being denied for what the State regards as misbehaviour online.

Rudd Apsey, DPA

I’ve come from a technology background. I think what I like about the process that we’ve gone for is that the innovation is there, the price of this innovation has dropped dramatically, there’s a political will to want to do something and it’s going to be a big decision about how this country responds to these particular issues.

It’s not a technical challenge anymore. It’s a social challenge, and we have to be aware, and that’s why as the DPA we try and talk to charities and different groups to get this understanding of how society feels about it. We’re trying to ask people, “What are the problems in your world if we introduce this?”.

There are currently 18 product groups in the United Kingdom that require age verification, right from Christmas crackers and fireworks through to harmful substances and knives, it just goes on and on and on. Liquor chocolates was one that was on the list, which I found quite amusing, I definitely want to send a 15 year-old to buy Liquor chocolates to, see what happens!

But we have to decide what we’re doing, how we replace the “Mark 1 eyeball” in the modern world is the challenge here because the shopkeeper used to know if it was your brother coming in. When your Mum comes in, I’ll give her the bottle of vodka. We need to get that sort of light touch because the consequences now for a shop employee that serves someone under the age range are quite considerable. I mean it’s the employee that gets arrested, not the supermarket.

Neil Fairbrother

Yes. And it’s difficult to replicate that online.

Rudd Apsey, DPA

Exactly. And the supermarket, your average supermarket is starting to become the front row for Government policy. And we’re talking about people getting assaulted, challenged, abused, purely because they’re saying, “I’m sorry I can’t sell you that product”. And that’s the reality of this. And if we could get to scenario where “the computer says no”, I think that would take some of the heat off the retail industry.

Some of the technologies that we work within the DPA are doing the challenges of purchasing alcohol at self-service tills. There’s technology now where it can just look at your face and get a guess your age. I saw a demonstration recently that guessed my age within two years. It’s pretty impressive.

Neil Fairbrother

It’s also quite frightening.

Rudd Apsey, DPA

Oh yes, it is. But if I don’t have to suffer the indignity of an 18 year-old coming in at Waitrose to decide that I’m old enough to buy a bottle of wine, I’m all for it.

Neil Fairbrother

Thank you so much it’s a fascinating topic and it’s certainly going to be well worth keeping an eye on to see what happens in this area and see what else can be done with Age Verification to keep children safe online.

Rudd Apsey, DPA

Thank you again for giving me the opportunity. Thank you.

 

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