Catching up with the concerns that have been raised regarding our recent expansion of age verification testing….
Legality, Privacy and Data Storage
Some of you have raised the question whether the age verification vendor we have selected, Aristotle and their Integrity service, is complying with various global privacy laws, which generally pertain to collection, use and storage of personal data. We’ve been assured by them that they are in compliance with all relevant privacy laws. But the most important point here — which we think makes a big difference in evaluating safety and compliance — is that no data is being taken, retained or stored. Rather, an automated check is done at the point of contact, and all data is then purged. Thus, there is no collecting, using, storing, or transferring of your personal information beyond the one-time match. Period. Certainly, you are not being asked to place your information in a database.
We are pursuing age verification in a good faith attempt to comply with international laws, and after discussions with numerous governmental agencies across Europe, North America, and Asia. In some cases, these governments have publicized their views quite widely. We encourage this debate, but we also ask that you understand that we are seeking to comply with the laws of the countries our Residents are from — notwithstanding that many Residents may disagree with their own country’s laws or directives.
As currently implemented, age verification and parcel flagging to create adults-only restricted areas rely completely on voluntary participation. However, there is no assurance that either feature will always be voluntary for all Second Life Residents. It’s possible, for example, that we could be required at some point to make one of these features mandatory for the citizens of a specific country. Should that happen, we will do everything we can to provide maximum advance warning.
Accuracy, Reliability and Other Options
Although previous global testing of the Integrity system with a smaller sample showed a nearly 80% success rate, broader implementation has been disappointing, with too many failures. We’re continuing to fine-tune the process to improve the success rate. While the Integrity process is attractive because it offers global matching without any data storage, if necessary we’ll look into other options to ensure that minors are not accessing Second Life or inappropriate content.