As Instagram, Twitter Take Steps To Verify Users' Age, Privacy Groups Warn Such Measures May Put Minors At Higher Risk

As Instagram, Twitter Take Steps To Verify Users' Age, Privacy Groups Warn Such Measures May Put Minors At Higher Risk

As Meta Platforms Inc.'s META Instagram and Twitter Inc. roll out age-verification systems, privacy groups raise concerns about personal data and pornography-viewing habits. 

What Happened: Digital Rights Watch, a privacy group, has urged federal regulators to exclude requiring identification documents as part of any online age-verification system. The group warned that the information could create a "honeypot" of users' personal information and pornography-viewing habits, according to The Guardian. 

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Legislators worldwide are working to prevent minors from accessing adult content. Australian e-Safety commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, is developing an online safety "roadmap" to do the same by ensuring host sites verify users' age. 

The roadmap calls for using third parties, ID cards or credit card checks, as well as internet service providers or mobile phone operators, to verify the age of users. The group says almost all approaches will have security and privacy risks. 

"Age verification is a terrible combination of being invasive and risky while also being ineffective for its purported purpose," said Samantha Floreani, program lead at Digital Rights Watch.

"Methods that are less privacy-invasive are easily bypassed by tech-savvy kids, and those that may be more likely to work at restricting access to pornography create massive and disproportionate privacy and digital security risks," Floreani added. 

Why It Matters: Instagram and Twitter's age-verification systems are already in full swing.

Alphabet Inc.'s GOOG GOOGL Google also estimates a person's age using information gathered on the account. If the tech-giant needs to see ID documents, they delete them after verification, the report noted. 

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