Another Pitch for Positive Online Identification or Age Verification

This article on the CNN website, “‘Enter birthdate’ not the Fort Knox of online child locks,” has a lot of unnecessary words which boil down to this: The method of keeping kids out of adult information sources on the Internet is baloney. 

What’s your birthday?
Do you agree to these terms?
The online age thing is there just to cover the website’s butt.  It really doesn’t keep kids from seeing anything.
I rarely desire anything new from the federal government, but here’s a project on which they can really help us.
The government should create this system:
– You register on a federal website with whatever information you want to provide.  This could include name, birth date, social security number, address, etc.
– Then you go to a state office that participates in the federal program, like the DMV, and provide the identification number created for you on the new system and then prove you are who you say you are.
– The DMV then activates your account.
When you want access to something that’s restricted by age, the website uses something like OATH (initiative for open authentication).  
– The website would ask the federal system to verify your age.
– Then a secure browser window would open to the federal website.
– That window would identify who is asking and what they want to know (i.e., wants to verify that you’re 18 years of age or older).
– If you agree, then you would use your login and password to identify yourself.
– The federal website would provide a token back to the calling website which is verification.
The same process could be used to provide more information — the kinds of things that are necessary to complete binding contracts online.
Oh, I can hear your thoughts: But then the government would know that I accessed
Would you rather this be handled by a commercial company, Google perhaps?
Google probably already knows you visited the site anyway.  If you searched for it and clicked on the link while logged into Google then they know.  If the site uses Google Analytics and you’re keeping cookies between sessions, then they could figure it out.
If the government wants to know what sites you’re visiting, they can find out anyway.
Well, there are ways the verification could be provided anonymously, though.
Just thinking out loud.


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