Online Age Verification Trails Taking Place

Recently published documents show the government is currently trialing online age verification software for alcohol sales.

Trials of an online age verification process for alcohol purchases began in September this year. The Morrison Government tasked Julie Inman Grant, the eSafety Commissioner, with developing a roadmap for an age verification system for adult content by the end of 2022. However, recently released documents reveal the trials are progressing.

The documents became public knowledge after a freedom of information request. They show the Digital Transformation Agency prepared for age verification and ID trials from September 2021. The federal government is using the data to see if gambling and adult sites can use similar technology.

Trials of 100 users per case, starting with online alcohol purchases started in September. The plan was to run them for between three to six months. Gambling websites and adult-themed website trials do not yet have a trial date.

Age Verification Trials Run Privately

The Digital Transformation Agency insists it is not actively participating in the trials; private businesses are running them.

“DTA’s work with the private sector on the topic of online age verification has focused on discussions and discovery activities with organisations engage in the Trusted Digital Identity Framework (TDIF) accreditation process.”

The DTA did not reveal which businesses it is using for the trials or how many customers are involved.

There is a lot of data stemming from the online age verification trials. This includes the impact on revenue in addition to customer experience and adoption.

DTA’s report shows the trials are currently limited to alcohol sales. However, there are planned trials for lootboxes in video games. Furthermore, DTA wants to combine them with the government’s mygovid as a form of age verification.

MasterCard Is Working With the DTA

MasterCard announced in September it is working with the DTA. The payment processor and DTA are exploring how MasterCard’s digital ID service could help age verification. It will encrypt all gathered information, including facial biometrics. In addition, its system keeps “users in complete control of their data and ensuring that only they can access and use it.”

The involvement of MasterCard drew criticism from adult content creators. This is because of MasterCard’s stringent rules for adult sites to keep and maintain records. Those sites argue this makes them a target for hackers seeking personal information. The same stringent rules are in place for gambling sites and online casinos.

Details of the trials come as the Online Safety Act soon comes into force. It is the legislation that kicked off the process for requiring age verification for online content.

Latest Step in Protecting Underage Gamblers

It is only natural that gambling sites are liked with age verification. They are, after all, often frequented by vulnerable people who are often under 18-years-old. Current processes rely purely on matching the info a person inputs when registering and cross-matching with ID documents they later provide.

Some live casinos employ facial recognition software to prevent underage and problem gambling. Some 80% of South Australia casinos and gaming centres utilise facial recognition. Vix Vizion and Cradlepoint collaborated to deliver the solution. Indeed, any gaming venue in South Australia with 30 or more pokies require facial recognition software. This has been the case since December 3, 2020.

Facial recognition is not new technology because it has been around since the 1960s. United States intelligence agencies and the military created the first tech. The tech is advancing rapidly thanks to developments in high-quality cameras.

Japanese tech company NEC developed a system that is deadly accurate. It identifies people, even if wearing a mask, within a second and with 99.9% accuracy. The thought of venues holding sensitive data does not sit well with many people. Unfortunately, it is increasingly likely that age verification is on its way to casinos and online casinos.