As the U.S. state of Utah recently introduced age verification laws to protect children’s safeguarding and privacy, looks at comparative European privacy laws restricting adult content sites as well as age restricted purchases.

Age assurance technology being leveraged to counter online harms will be explored at Identity Week Europe – on 13 and 14 June – with expert speakers expressing the scope of scenarios where this technology could form a barrier between internet content, 18+ entertainment content, games, gambling, social media and much more.

May 13, 2023: Utah’s Online Pornography Viewing Age Requirements Act 

Utah has jurisdiction on imposing privacy and age verification legislation on service providers of adult sites and technology partners, with the passing of the Online Pornography Viewing Age Requirements Act.

The act mirrors the european equivalent – The Online Safety Bill which outlines that firm practices to verify users over 18+ must be implemented through a digitised ID card or third-party age verification service. Both the website and technology providers are accountable of safeguarding where content such as “pornography or other materials” may be “harmful to minors”.

Service providers can no longer warn users with a written declaration or tick box option to proof they are 18 years or older as sufficient verification. The Act is also similar to the  Louisiana’s Act No. 440 but while seemingly more advanced with the methods of identification, the state’s government created a digital wallet that allows site operators to verify state-issued IDs or driving licences against the Louisiana database.

In response to the Act, pornography sites such as PornHub have been blocked to users.

Future of age verification legislation – at Identity Week Europe 2023

Discussing age verification standards throughout Europe, Tony Allen, ACCS, will share the roadmap to establishing certification frameworks that implement online safety verification protocols while ensuring a seamless user experience. The AVPA, represented by Executive Director Iain Corby, will also weigh into the issues of innovating biometric identity verification solutions for age assurance. There remains a lot to be seen in how standards can evolve existing laws around age assurance and how they can be enacted and followed.