Sunday, November 23, 2008

New York Times: Age Verification

From the New York Times (Nov. 18)...

Child-safety activists charge that some of the age-verification firms want to help Internet companies tailor ads for children. They say these firms are substituting one exaggerated threat — the menace of online sex predators — with a far more pervasive danger from online marketers like junk food and toy companies that will rush to advertise to children if they are told revealing details about the users.

“It’s particularly upsetting,” said Nancy Willard, an expert on Internet safety who has raised concerns about age verification on her Web site over the last month. “Age verification companies are selling parents on the premise that they can protect the safety of children online, and then they are using this information for market profiling and targeted advertising.”
An example of how hysteria over well-publicized but statistically insignificant threats can lead to far worse damage overall.

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