There’s only really so many ways to verify the age of someone that you’ve never seen (actually, it often isn’t all that much easier in person, but that’s another story).

You can treat them as if they’re of-age if they have a credit card, but that’s inaccurate and a violation of credit-card merchant agreements (symptoms include suddenly having to change payment providers).

You can match identification document information against an identification provider like Aristotle-Integrity, but that’s unreliable and fraught with issues, and doesn’t prove that the information describes the applicant.

There must be a simpler way to verify Second Life accounts as adults! Oh, wait…. here it is!

Here’s the latest Second Life age-verification page. It asks you for your date-of-birth (it already has it filled in, if you provided it at any previous time), and asks you to promise that you’re being honest about it.

Now, before you jump up and down about the inadequacy of such measures, I’ll make a mention that this meets the US Federal Trade Commission’s best-practices for age-verification for access to online adult content. That is, the US Government feels that this sort of system is fine.

Well, actually, no – the US Government doesn’t feel that this is fine, however it is the best and most accurate system that it has so far been possible to build, more to the point – that is, nobody’s so far able to effectively improve on it. Everyone’s got deceptively simple ideas on how to do accurate age-verification, most of which are based on false premises. Really, the whole thing falls down as soon as someone pulls out a fake ID.

So, there you go. If you’ve been holding off getting age-verified because you didn’t want to send sensitive identity information to a private foreign firm, now’s your chance to get it done.

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