Digital Age Verification Amid the Newly Emerging Age Laws | Age gates, or self-verification checks that need consumers to insert their birth date or tick a box to prove their age, have been around for years. Before visiting an age-restricted website or buying a product, a user is asked to enter their date of birth. In this process, practically nothing is done to verify the facts that the user has submitted. They are often the only authorization check to access age-restricted material. The issue is that self age verification checks are simple to deceive. What a user under the age of 18 needs to do is lie. These age checks are only used because it’s better to have something in place than nothing.
On certain platforms, using an age-gate only gives a solid message that certain defense mechanisms are in place and we acknowledge the importance of age verified, and you should too. Furthermore, it is a low-cost and simple-to-implement way of attempting to protect a business. However, some businesses do employ efficient age verification solutions to screen users digitally. With so many different types of online age verification services out there, the use of age gates should be let go of once in for all.
Why Are People Reluctant to Disclose Real Age?
Users who don’t necessarily need to lie on age gates do so anyway. Customers are under no pressure to state the truth and have no real reason to do so. Consequently, the vast majority of them do not. Moreover, filling out the age-gate form with random details is also quicker for them. If a business’s age verification method uses dropdown boxes, for instance, selecting a birthdate of 1/1/1990 or anything similar is always easily easier than looking for and inserting the correct details. Furthermore, some users are afraid to divulge such personal details as their birth date too early in their association with a new organization.
The Emergence of New Age Verification Laws
In the United States
- In California, age restriction laws regarding tobacco and vape sales cannot be complied with using self-verification checks. Here, the distributors must match the client’s identity, address, and dob with details found in official databases. They need the users to be 21 years or older. According to California law, the dealer must also check the billing address on the credit card provided by the customer and verify if it fits the address specified in the database.
- Similarly, in certain jurisdictions, age gates are insufficient for online purchases of alcohol. The majority of states ask the customer to show official government-issued id documents to show their age, which rules out the use of an age gate. Some US states, such as Michigan, Georgia, and Ohio, require online retailers to use an identity authentication service before any order is placed on their website.
- Furthermore, it is also illegal in the United States to sell any nicotine product — including e-cigarettes — to those under the age of 21. Any sale of such drugs to minors is the responsibility of the business, and the consequences can be serious. Therefore, depending solely on an age-gate is a major gamble.
- In this way, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it would put tighter control over retailers who do not use third-party, age, and identity verification systems that check consumer details when it comes to the sale of e-cigarettes.
In Rest of the World
Similarly, Canada’s national government regulator stated that easy self-verification checks are insufficient to impede underage cannabis sales and online solutions are needed. Similarly, the United Kingdom, Holland, Germany, and other countries have banned minors under the age of 18 from participating in internet gaming or sports betting, and the age checks to fully implement these bans are insufficient.
The preceding examples are representative of a global trend, not to consider a trend in numerous states within the US, that is weakening the feasibility of age gates.
Do Age Verification Solutions Address this Need?
Online age verification solutions ensure that the users have a streamlined experience without any hassle. Users only need a legitimate ID card to go through the age verification check. On the other side, businesses stay compliant with age regulations while conducting their business online. It is because these solutions employ the application of AI in their document verification and face recognition tools to verify ages without any inconsistency.