I was reading the Wall Street Journal last Friday and came across an article on myspace.com and limiting children’s access to the site (DNA Sample required to view online article.) One comment made by MySpace’s Chief Security Officer Hemanshu Nigam states:
“there is no technology or national system that allows us or any other Internet company to truly verify the identity or age of a person online.”
Here is my opportunity to start educating the world. There is technology available that allows e-commerce companies to verify the identity and/or age of a person online.
The most pressing issue surrounding these networking sites is how to keep unsolicited adults or online predators away from our children. That is something that can easily be solved today by using an age verification solution on the adults registering to use the site. Now before anyone starts screaming about anonymity and how age verification threatens the freedom of information, there’s a way to age verify someone without restricting the flow of information on the Internet (after all that’s what Trusted Identity is all about!). Having a Trusted Identity means someone couldn’t pretend to be under 18 (or over) and gives social networks like MySpace the ability to put real controls in place to limit a user’s interaction with minors.
The real issue at stake here is to determine how we can all work together (parents, businesses, government, technology) to create a solution that protects our children online. Hopefully it won’t be long before “Trusted Identity” becomes a topic talked about outside the tech world and more in the mainstream.