Microsoft’s age-verification concept

Microsoft has created a euphemism to go with its age-verification plan: "digital playgrounds," where kids get digital ID cards so they can hang out in adult-free places online. It's part of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing initiative that has involved other companies in a consortium aimed at tackling the Internet identity problem. The problem is "how to make the Internet safer not just for children, but also for adults wanting to conduct business, make transactions, and communicate with the confidence that the people they are interacting with really are who they say they are," CNET reports. What makes it so tough to solve is the need to authenticate people's identities without jeopardizing their privacy – especially children's, whose personal info is protected by US federal law. "Under the [Microsoft] scenario related to children, digital identity 'cards,' or credentials, could be based on either national identity documents created at birth or on identity documents schools use to determine age and identity for school registration, with parental permission. The data could be limited to age and proof of authenticity, and the credentials should be encrypted and require use of PIN numbers. As Internet News points out, dozens of other companies and groups will be presenting their proposed solutions to the Internet Safety Task Force later this month. [See also "Age verification: Key question for parents," "UK data security breach & kids," "Social networker age verification revisited," and other items on the subject.]

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