Google may ask for your license or passport on YouTube and Google Play in Australia

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Google has announced that it will expand age verification checks for users in Australia who want to access age-restricted content on YouTube and Google Play.

Next month, the search giant will introduce age verification tests where users are required to provide additional proof of age when trying to watch adult content on YouTube or download content on Google Play.

Samantha York, Google’s senior director of government and public policy, explained that the move was to provide users with “age-appropriate experiences”.

As part of this process, some Australian users may be required to provide additional proof of age when attempting to watch adult content on YouTube or download content on Google Play.

“If our systems are unable to prove that a viewer is over 18, we will require them to provide a valid ID or credit card to verify their age.”

Google considers a valid ID as a government-issued card, such as a driver’s license or passport.

The company emphasized that if a user uploads a copy of their ID, it will be “securely stored, not made public, and deleted” once the person’s date of birth is verified.

However, it noted that it would not only use the person’s ID to confirm their age but also “to improve verification services for Google products and protect against fraud and abuse”.

Google said the move is in response to the Australian Government’s Online Security (Restricted Access Regulations) announcement 2022, which requires platforms to take steps to confirm that users are over the age of 18 before they can access content that may be inappropriate for those under 18. viewers. The announcement was made under the Internet Security Act.

See also: eSafety thinks identity verification for social media would be impractical

Similar steps for age verification have already been implemented in the European Union under the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD).

To ensure a consistent experience, viewers who attempt to access age-restricted YouTube videos on “most” third-party websites will be redirected to YouTube to sign in and verify their age to watch them.

“This helps ensure that, no matter where a video is discovered, it will only be available to the right audience,” York said.

Meanwhile, Meta is rolling out parental supervision tools on Quest and Instagram, claiming they will allow parents and guardians to “be more involved in teens’ experiences.”

Instagram’s moderation tool will allow parents and guardians to view the amount of time teens spend on the platform and set time limits; They are notified when teens share that they have reported someone; View and receive updates on accounts that teens follow and accounts that follow teens.

There are also plans to add additional features, including letting parents limit the hours their teens can use Instagram and the ability to supervise a teen’s account for more than one parent.

The Instagram moderation tool is currently only available in the US, but Meta says there are plans to roll it out globally in the “coming months”.

Meta said teens will need to start parental supervision on Instagram for now in the mobile app, but he clarified that parents will have the option to start supervision in the desktop app by June.

“Teens will need to consent to parental supervision if requested by a parent or guardian,” Mita said.

As for the VR parental supervision tools being introduced to Quest, they will roll out over the coming months, starting with expanding the current unlock pattern on Quest headphones to allow parents to use them to prevent teens from accessing experiences they deem inappropriate.

In May, Meta will automatically ban teens from downloading apps rated by IARC as inappropriate, as well as launching a parental control panel, which hosts a suite of moderation tools that will link to a teen’s account based on consent from both sides.

In addition, Meta has created what it calls the Family Center to provide parents and guardians with access to supervision tools and resources, including the ability to supervise teen accounts within Meta Technologies, set up and use supervision tools, and access to resources on how to communicate with teens about Internet use.

“Our vision for the Family Center is to allow parents and guardians to help teens manage experiences via identification technologies, all from one central place,” the company said.

The moves from both tech giants are being followed by the parliamentary committee responsible for conducting Australia’s social media investigation that released its findings earlier this week.

In its findings, it believes that online damages would be reduced if the federal government instituted requirements for social media companies to set default privacy settings for child-owned accounts at the highest levels and all digital devices sold in Australia to contain optional parental control functions.

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