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All-Party Children's group: Proposed Age Verification Bill Would See Regulation Of Online Shopping
[May 08, 2009]

All-Party Children's group: Proposed Age Verification Bill Would See Regulation Of Online Shopping

May 08, 2009 (M2 PRESSWIRE via COMTEX) -- A Bill which aims to regulate the online sale of age-restricted goods will be presented to the House of Lords tomorrow (Friday 8 May 2009) for its second reading by Baroness Doreen Massey, Chair of the All-Party Children's group.

Baroness Massey's Online Purchasing of Goods and Services (Age Verification) Bill is calling for all online retailers who sell age-restricted goods to establish a system to allow them to determine whether or not a person purchasing the products meet the legal minimum age.

The main products which would be affected by the Bill are: knives; alcohol; tobacco; some video games and DVDs; solvents and spray paints.

The provisions of Baroness Massey's Bill are in line with the Gambling Act 2005 which has resulted in remote gambling operators now using specialist companies to carry out verification or online databases to verify the age of the buyer, rather than users merely ticking a box to confirm that they are over 18, as had previously been common practice.

Alex Hewittis a director of Scottish company NetIDme thatlaunched the world's first personal digital ID token and provides patented online age and identity verification services to a number of remote gambling operators, online communities and e-retailers.

Hewittsays that if Baroness Massey's Bill did come into force, thousands of online retailers would need to change their practices.

He said: "With the growth of Internet shopping, retailers face new challenges - they can no longer simply ask the person in front of them for identification so it is essential that a system is put in place to ensure adult goods are only sold to those who should have them.

"Responsible retailers obviously don't set out to intentionally sell age-restricted goods to under 18s, but for anyone still using a simple tick box to confirm a person's age, the message should now be clear, that this is simply not good enough.

"We're working with a growing number of retailers who have already taken action to make sure they age-verify their customers who attempt to buy age-restricted goods online. The technology is easy to implement, and our customers accept it is an important part of doing business online." Online retailer Cooks Knives already use NetIDme's age verification software when selling knives online. Commenting on the Bill, Guy Morgan, managing director, said: "As a responsible retailer, we fully support Baroness Massey's Bill to ensure that all online retailers take this issue seriously.

"With recent trading standards investigations and strong public concern in this area, we have taken proactive steps to ensure we are not inadvertently selling knives to under eighteens via our website, and I'd urge other retailers to do the same." Andrew McClelland, director of business development at IMRG, the industry body for Internet retailing, said: "Technology and political will are now making the current methods of compliance obsolete; the days where a tick box confirming the customers age are limited. Card types no-longer provide a definitive picture of a customer's age and reliance on one type of Database check can prove ineffective. Rather, all of these pieces of information should be used to build a picture so that an informed decision can be made about whether an order should be dispatched or not. A sensible rule-of-thumb is, if you are not sure, do not ship the order." Notes for Editors: NetIDmewas launched in August 2006 by Glasgow businessman Alex Hewitt In July 2008 NetIDme's age-verification software was accredited by the British Board of Film Classification for its new media download classification scheme, company provides online age and identity verification solutions. A number of Blue Chip companies are currently using NetIDme's age and identity verification technology including four Fortune 100 companies.

Cooks Knivesis part of the Pots and Pans family of websites. The company has been established on the Scottish high street for many years with shops in St Andrews and Stirling. In 1999 Pots and Pans pioneered the online cookshop and has grown dramatically by offering top brand cookware at discounted prices. Cooks Knives ( is the company's long established specialist kitchen knife and accessory website.

The legislation which prohibits the sale of spray paint, alcohol, knives and fireworks to minors are The Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003, Licensing Act 2003, Criminal Justices Act 1988, The Fireworks (Safety) Regulations 1997 respectively. The same laws apply to online retailers/suppliers as to high street stores.

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