How old are you?
That may sound like a daft question, but is it?
We all know our ages because we all know when we were born. We celebrate [or ignore] the anniversary of that date and notch another year onto our age. But how can we prove our claim to that age?
There are certain occasions when proof of age is required. In my case I could produce a driving licence or something like that, but I would have had to prove my age to obtain that licence. This is normally done by producing a birth certificate, but supposing that birth certificate was lost or otherwise destroyed? Age can only be proved by historical records and if they don’t exist then we just have to take the person’s word for it.
Our gubmint in their infinite wisdom has decided that 13 is the age of consent for accessing the Interweb.
That may sound like a reasonable decision, but I am baffled as to how it works. A web site asks your age, and you type it in. You can type in any old age and the Interweb has no means whatsoever to verify your claim. Are you over 13? Yes. Grand! Please enter your birthday – 01,01,1912 – Welcome to our site! A website relies completely and totally on the honesty of the visitor. Birth certificates are of no value as they are just bits of paper and could belong to anyone.
There are only two ways that this conundrum can be solved, so far as I can see.
To access the Interweb you would have to enter some piece of information that is unique to yourself, such as a birth certificate number or some kind of national insurance number. For that to work there would have to be a database containing the relevant information on every person on the planet, and all web sites would have to have free access to that database. that would be fun to set up?
The other method would be to microchip every person on the planet at birth, and to install chip readers on every device capable of accessing the Web.
That of course would be the wet dream of every controller. They are already experimenting with the idea in some companies.
I wonder how long it will take them to suggest it on a national or international scale?