The New York Times outlines the difficulties of identifying the ages of Internet users, noting "everyone--not only sex offenders--has an incentive to lie." Recent cases of adults masquerading as children on a social network aimed at 13- to 17-year-olds has the site looking for a better way to vet users, but those who've studied age verification technologies are not optimistic. In 2008, a task force was convened to examine ways to verify age, but danah boyd, co-director of the task force and Microsoft researcher, says the technologies "would not address any of the major safety issues we identified." Others note that the available options--such as a national identity database--are considered by many to be privacy violations. (Registration may be required to access this story.)
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