Here's one reason why verification of online children's ages or identities is a slightly scary concept: data breaches are up. What does this have to do with online kids? If age verification is required of Web sites, children's personal information would have to be stored in a database somewhere, so that Web sites' "bouncers," or ID-checking technology, will have a collection of information against which it can check the info kids provide. The problem is, "businesses, governments and universities reported a record number of data breaches in the first half of this year, a 69% increase over the same period in 2007," Washington Post security writer Brian Krebs reports, citing research from the San Diego-based Identity Theft Resource Center. Interestingly, hacking was "the least-cited cause of data breaches in the first six months of 2008…. Instead, lost or stolen laptops and other digital storage media remain the most frequently cited cause of data breaches. See also "UK data security breach & kids." And I seem to be seeing more news of data breaches all the time, the latest for Google employees – see CNET.