Experts Call Bills To Verify Ages Online “Grandstanding”


Politicians in a half-dozen states want to protect children by requiring sites like and to verify the age of every user and require parental permission for those under 18. Those who run the sites and independent technology experts say they are little more than grandstanding and would be impossible to enforce, says the New York Times. “Everyone looking at this has good intentions at their core, but there are some solutions that sound like they are the easy silver bullet and there is just no such thing,” said Hemanshu Nigam, the chief security officer for MySpace, warning that the proposed restrictions could create a false sense of safety. “You'll see teens who are going to get around it and probably end up in a place where it is more difficult to protect them.”

Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut attorney general, who has spearheaded the movement to crack down on the sites, brushes off such concerns by arguing that “if we can put a man on the moon, we can verify someone's age.” Blumenthal and Roy Cooper, the North Carolina attorney general, started a national task force on the issue that now includes attorneys general from nearly every state. The initial focus was on pressuring MySpace to raise its minimum age for registration to 16 from 14, but when the company resisted, Blumenthal and others began introducing legislation to force its hand.


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