Spain gets ready to use age verification tech to safeguard kids from online adult content

  • Age Verification Technology: Spain is developing tech to prevent minors from accessing inappropriate online content, addressing concerns about the impact of explicit material on youth development.
  • High Teen Exposure to Pornography: Over 50% of Spanish teenagers view pornography before age 13, highlighting the urgency of implementing measures to protect minors from harmful online content.
  • Profound Impact on Development: The head of the national data protection agency emphasizes that checking age for access to adult content can significantly influence a person’s development, health, and life.
  • AI-Generated Fake Nude Pictures Investigation: Following an AI app generating fake nude images of young girls, Spain is taking steps to regulate smartphone use in schools and introducing age verification technology to combat inappropriate content access.
  • Royal Spanish Mint Development: The new age verification technology is being developed by the Royal Spanish Mint, allowing users to prove their age without disclosing personal data, with an expected release by mid-2024.
  • Industry Collaboration and Regulation: Spain’s data protection agency will collaborate with major tech companies like Alphabet, Meta, TikTok, and others to explain its plans and seek feedback, aligning with a new law requiring providers to implement age verification systems.
Spain's New Initiative: Age Verification Tech to Shield Minors Online

Spain’s New Initiative: Age Verification Tech to Shield Minors Online

Spain is working on a new technology to confirm the ages of internet users in an effort to prevent minors from accessing inappropriate online content like pornography and gambling sites. The head of the national data protection agency, Mar España, revealed this initiative on Thursday, emphasizing the need to shield young people from potentially harmful material as smartphones and digitalization make it more accessible.

A recent report by the NGO Save the Children highlighted that over half of Spanish teenagers have been exposed to pornography before the age of 13. España expressed the belief that by monitoring access to adult content based on age, significant positive impacts can be made on an individual’s development, health, and overall life.

Following the footsteps of Britain, which recently introduced age-checking guidelines to curb children’s access to online pornography, Spain aims to address concerns about minors misusing smartphones. In September, the inappropriate use of smartphones by Spanish minors gained attention when an investigation was launched into the circulation of fake nude images generated by an artificial intelligence app on social media and teen chatrooms.

Education Minister Pilar Alegria has proposed regulating phone usage in schools, suggesting a complete ban during school hours in primary schools and limited use under teacher supervision for educational purposes in secondary schools. Discussions on implementing this plan are scheduled with regional governments in January.

The new age verification technology is under development by the Royal Spanish Mint, following recommendations from the national data protection agency. The technology will enable service providers to confirm that the internet user is an adult or meets the minimum required age for accessing social media.

Users will have the option to download an app, a QR code, or a certificate verifying their age, using official identification documents like ID cards, health or residence cards, driving licenses, or passports. This process aims to allow access to websites without divulging personal data to third parties and is expected to be available by mid-2024.

Mar España emphasized that criminals attempting to pose as underage individuals to exploit children will be thwarted, as they won’t be able to register as minors. Spain’s antitrust watchdog, CNMC, mandated age verification systems through a new law, urging providers to implement them effectively.

To foster collaboration, AEPD plans to engage with major tech companies such as Alphabet, Meta, TikTok, the Spanish videogame association, and other relevant groups to present its plans and gather feedback on the proposed measures.

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Source(s): Reuters

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