Adult Verification System
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An Adult Verification System (AVS) is a computing system used by a website to confirm that the user attempting to access their website is of the age required (usually by law) to view the website's content. An age gate is a weaker control which consists of the user self-reporting their date of birth or age. Content protected by these measures typically include sex, nudity, violence or profanity, age-restricted YouTube channels or videos, or ESRB rated content for M-rated and AO-rated video games, or alcoholic beverages and tobacco.
AVS is used to attempt to legally protect companies from punishment under laws against (for example) disseminating pornography to a minor. These systems often consist of the user self-reporting their age or date of birth. They often use a credit card, and are usually provided by a third-party company; the same AVS company can provide adult verification for multiple websites, thus becoming more user friendly.
In 1999, a particular AVS (Landslide Inc.) was at the center of a police crackdown on internet users viewing child pornography, known as Operation Ore, in which web users using Landslide's AVS were identified by their financial records when the company which stored the data went into liquidation.
Problems with this system include the ease at which a child may get access to (for example) their parents credit cards, defeating the stated purpose of the system, and that it is easy to use a fake script to defraud users into divulging their credit card number to an individual to use for their own purposes.
- "Oz Proposes Tough New Filter Law". www.wired.com. 2001-11-22. Retrieved 2008-06-06.