Feeds

back to article MP calls for law to force online shops to verify customer age

A bill has been introduced in Parliament which would force online retailers to check customers' ages before selling goods that cannot be sold to children. The Online Purchasing of Goods and Services (Age Verification) Bill received its first reading in Parliament on Tuesday when it was introduced by Labour MP Margaret Moran as …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Coat

Solution!

ID Cards!

What a great idea, I don't know why anyone else hasn't thought of it..............

0
0
Silver badge
Flame

"There should be a law"

If there's *anything* that should strike terror into the hearts of the average man it's when someone speaks those five words, since they mouth often spill from the mouths of people who haven't a clue how to go about it. It's as if legislation is some sort of magic bullet that solves all the world's ills.

Let them explain how it will be done, in detail and in language that anyone who isn't a lawyer can understand, before they're allowed to submit even a green paper on the subject. Then when everyone's finished laughing the edjit in question can go away and cry in the corner.

0
0
Alert

Weak link

Rather than going after every ecommerce retailer in the world, hasn't anyone seen the weak link here?

"The People newspaper worked with a 14-year-old called Zach," said Moran. "He got a pre-paid card at a local store; he paid cash and walked out the door with it."

Solve that problem, much easier. Or you could publish a list of these Chav-Visa cards identifiying codes (first four digits) and block those at ecommerce sites.

Jolyon

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Ban 'em

I am all for just banning children from the net, move the responsibility to the parents for the snotty nosed rascals.

This is just another way to try and sneak in the ID card.

Personally I don't care what the children do, but if the politicians are going to use them as pawns, I say we just sacrifice them and move them off the board.

0
0
Stop

And so it starts...

This is just another attempt to introduce compulsory ID cards by stealth. If someone under 18 has to be prevented from using or buying a service then EVERYBODY has to provide acceptable proof of age.

To use the "won't someone think of the children" argument in this manner is just typical of our current, increasingly corrupt government where lies, spin and obfuscation are used to justify mind boggling bad decisions.

(Where are the political icons?)

0
0
Thumb Down

I know...

lets introduce a compulsory ID card system to ensure that kiddies can't buy forbidden goodies using a card that should have been checked by the supplier who sold it to said kiddie.

0
0

Easier to plug the loophole

Wouldn't it be simpler to limit the sale of pre-paid credit cards? It seems that there was no loophole before their introduction. It would also be easier and cheaper to implement.

Apart from that it seems audacious that the government should ask anyone else to get their house in order. A bit of introspection is required.

0
0

Yet another Internet-clueless MP

Alas, Margaret Moran isn't the only MP who has a 19th-century view of the Internet as something which governments can control. The recent cluster of teenage suicides in Wales prompted the local MP to call for social web sites which "romanticised" suicide to be shut down.

0
0
Silver badge
Stop

Stable Door (Closure) bill

So an unscrupulous or easily fooled shop keeper sold something illegally to an under-age customer and the response isn't to clamp down on this single point of failure, but to inconvenience everybody who pays for anything online? How exactly do they expect to enforce this? I can't imagine many overseas hosted porn sites being particularly concerned about the short arm of English law!

Instead of selling pre-paid credit cards, why not offer pay-as-you-go cards that are applied for in the normal way and topped up at your local shop or bank before use, just like a mobile phone?

Or is this another backdoor attempt to foist ID cards onto us?

0
0
Stop

Another back door route...

...for the justification of the National ID card, if you ask me. Enter your unique ID number, and we can check it against our database for your age and address.

Meh...

0
0
Anonymous Coward

But is this a significant problem in practice?

How many children obtain cigarettes and alcohol by mail order?

And as for porn, what's the damage, and isn't there loads of it available on the Internet without payment, legally or otherwise?

Incidently, how many people knew that you have to be 18 to buy cigarettes nowadays? I didn't, until I just looked it up.

0
0
Paris Hilton

4.365 ± 0.007 ly

As ever an MP gets in a lather about alleged faults in online shopping - and then proves the problem lies elsewhere!

If someone is under the age of 18 then they shouldn't have access to credit. The fact that some 14 year old managed to get a pre-payment card meant he retailer who sold it to him was at fault. Maybe I'm a bit thick but should it be the person who owns the shop who should be taken to task? Why not make the law on selling restricted items more draconian? Why more laws to fix a problem that doesn't exist?

Thankfully this is a PMB and will get talked out.

Paris to illustrate another dumb bint who doesn't know her arse from her elbow

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Simple solution...

Arrest Zach for illegally buying a pre-paid card, arrest the retailer for illegally selling a pre-paid card, extrapolate to those committing similar crimes - job done.

Alternatively, we could blame Tesco, etc for not verifying ages even though the very act of paying is verification, introduce a whole load of legislation to make it more irritating for people to shop online and add additional costs to those small retailers that the web is supposed to have set free, whilst leaving Zach and his criminal buddies to continue breaking the law.

0
0
Coat

Biometric readers?

So to positively identify yourself on the intarwebs one needs a biometric reader to stick your finger in. Maybe these could be made in different shapes, such as a politician's arsehole?

0
0
Dan
Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Back to front

If 14-year-old Zach was wrongly issued with a credit card by a bank, who would be at fault, the bank or the retailer which assumes the law has been correctly applied (no-one under 18 should have a credit card).

So why is it suddenly back to front when Zach is wrongly issued with a pre-pay card? Does the MP have some agenda, perhaps?

Then when this is done another loophole will be ordering from foreign websites. What do we do now to protect the children, put up a great firewall?

0
0
Silver badge

Margaret Moran

Is that a typo in her surname?

0
0
Silver badge
Thumb Down

Here we go...

If you have you have an National id card you can buy these. if not, tough luck...

0
0
Ian

Pre-pay Visa isn't illegal to see to under 18

`So an unscrupulous or easily fooled shop keeper sold something illegally to an under-age customer'

Pre-pay visa isn't illegal to sell to under-18, and is actively marketed to the over 18s as a means of providing not-quite-cash to your children. I was contemplating getting a couple for my daughters: in the summer when the elder is thirteen she'll probably do her first Birmingham to London by train on her own trip, and it'd be handy to have something that can bail her out of trouble.

And before people say ``didn't have 'em in my day, didn't come to any harm'' the assumption that everyone travelling has a mobe and a credit card has become deeper and deeper rooted. If you screwed up a journey in 1985 and needed to go to a hotel, you could book in with cash: now a lot of places simply won't do it without the sort of ID that a child won't have. Similarly, the streets and stations were full of payphones in 1985: no longer.

0
0

Multiple types of prepayement card

Even if prepayement cards were made legal for only 18s only what about debit cards? I might be wrong but I'm pretty sure the card I had when I was a teenager would be sufficient to buy goods online. Perhaps the solution would be to require payment cards to encode an age value within the card number or similar? That way the prepayement cards could be sold as no age specified, 16, 17, 18 etc?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Impossible to implement

You can't know how old the person on the end of the wire is.

The solution is for the parent to filter the websites inappropriate to their children. Buy a filter service or buy some software to filter. So they can't order stuff online from sites they're not allowed to be on.

Banning the cards doesn't really help since there are lots of payment systems (even credit cards now) issued to under 18's.

0
0
Thumb Up

Credit Cards

Only accept payment via credit card... Problem solved!

0
0
Stop

OH Goodie...

...yet another unenforceable law.

Please won't someone take these absolute pillocks outside and give them the damn good slapping that they so richly deserve.

0
0
Alien

Solution

Simple solution really , if only we could only migrate by a FTL Star Ship to another planet in another star system and we could leave these moronic politicians to live in an abandoned world of their own to live out their fantasies alone !

Alternatively we stay at home , give every politician we can find a one way trip on the slowest sub light speed bucket cruising at half light to some distant planet well past Barnard's Star so they can create a fantasy world out there so as to speak and leave the rest us in this mad world of ours in total peace and bliss !

0
0
IT Angle

state / gov. ID #

the driving division issues ID cards as well and many people have them.

non drivers even carry them .

by requesting the ID #

and blocking the pre-paid cards should be a modest solution.

I understand that many do not even think of the driving permit in their pockets , but your already numbered....might as well use it.

and if " anyone appearing under 40" is the rule for " carding" a person, and "only 18" can buy these pre-paid cards....then the fact that the retailers are at fault and the government should set their sigts on mending that fence instead of creating more fences.

0
0
Stop

and 20 years ago ....

you could order some porn mail order, tick the "I am over 18" box, and wait for the package.

plus ca change ....

The main thing here is politicians starting to realise they are in some ways becoming less relevant ... how on earth does this drippy MP think they are going to tell Uncle Sam he has to check the ID of every UK order they ship ?

0
0
Pirate

The real problem here ...

... is a government that wants to be able to control everything it's citizens do.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

O.o

never before have I seen such a ****ing retarded law.

That is impressive as it has been the season of ****ing retarded laws.

excuse me I'm so ****ing amazed by how reatrded this law is I'm going to have to sit in a queit room and stare at the wall.

O.o My brain can't take it. It's trying to kill itself. O.O

Anon Superhero is fighting for his survival.

God it's so retarded

HELP

MAKE THEM STOP!

See beyond the generic - how ****ing retarded, just use a parents credit card.

O good god.

:(

0
0

even id cards won't solve this

I know that's the point (oh the poor little shits might get drunk, so what) their either using their parents cards anyway or their own pre pay.

Say the former, your screwed cause if they can get that they can just use their parents id card to pretend. if the latter, their kids, they can still get their parents id cards, they just need to write down the id number when they're not looking.

so we're back to square one but we have id cards that the govt think are oh so wonderful. twits. should pull their heads out of the sand and stop taking back-payments for shit ideas.

0
0
Silver badge

@sproot

Exactly my thoughts...

We have a solution, now lets find a problem it can solve. (And I say problem loosely).

0
0

@Jolyon Ralph

It's not just under-age binge drinkers who use those pre-paid cards, you know.

I have a regular credit card which I use for online shopping at Amazon and other large companies, but I occasionally buy things from small online merchants, and I prefer to use a pre-paid card for those purchases, especially when I'm dealing with someone for the first time.

0
0
Stop

Cheating?

Surely it's easy to cheat and borrow a credit card? So we need a better way to test if a person is over 18.

Q1: You see someone pulling off a difficult skateboard trick. Would you consider this: a: 'sick', b: 'rad', c: 'wicked', d: 'marvellous'

Q2: Punk was invented by whom? a: 'Wham?' b: 'Green Day!', c: 'The Sex Pistols or maybe The Ramones.' d: 'Miles Davis.'.

0
0
Stop

> unscrupulous or easily fooled shop keeper

I have a lot of sympathy for the shopkeepers... you're running a shop in a, shall we say less upmarket area, you're already paying a fortune for insurance what with all the vandalism and breakins, and a bunch of the local kids who you know damn well are responsible for all the damage are in the shop, quite probably underage, quite probably tooled up with knives and so on, asking for booze, ciggies and pre paid cards. I think you've got to be awfully brave and probably totally lacking in common sense to turn them down...

0
0
Anonymous Coward

An easier idea ...

Post the goods with an "18" sticker on them, and require the postie or courier to hand them only to somebody either known or proven to be over 18, exactly like the checkout operator at a supermarket is required to do.

Then make it a crime for a person over 18 to pass the contents to a person who isn't also over 18. Which probably needs to be done for supermarket sales too -- it probably shouldn't be legal for an adult to pass an over-18 item even to a member of their own family.

0
0
Boffin

In my day...

In my day we got the older kids to do the shopping for the alcohol, tobaco, or pornography. Clearly even if you bring in a law that say's you cannot sell credit to minors someone will go along and buy it for them.

A simple solution would be to tell the industry that anyone buying goods to be delivered, where ther is an age limit, must sign on receipt and show proof of age just as they do and did in high street shops.

0
0
Stop

RE: Only accept payment via credit card... Problem solved!

Or not.

I have a solo card and use that alot of order from online.

There are still a few places where I can get a decent deal that do not accept Solo cards, therefore I HAVE to pay a higher price.

This will cause hell for the under 18's that use cards properly and legally.

Luckily, i'm now 18 - but still have a Solo card.

0
0
Bronze badge

wow,

I've never seen such a thinly veiled attempt to introduce national ID cards through the back passage...

0
0

To put some perspective on this

This isn't a particularly new problem, I remember nearly 10 years ago, signing up to AOL when I was only 16. They didn't believe that I was 16 with a "credit" card (in reality my Visa Electron) and said they could enforce their contract (which at the time didn't mean a lot to me). It wasn't until I got a letter from my mum's lawyer along with my birth certificate proved I couldn't sign a contract under the age of 18....

This is not particularly a new problem and quite frankly the government has bigger things to worry about than a few thousand kids getting drunk...

0
0

And I quote:

"Using the card, Zach was able to order XXX porn videos from Amazon, and knives from Tesco that were delivered to his home where he signed for them personally. Oddbins delivered some Vodka to his house, and apparently William Hill let him bet £10 on a football match,"

Sounds to me like he had a pretty good day.

0
0

Suspcious?

Look if the Government just enforced the existing laws on the sale of prepayment cards that would just solve the problem.

But if they can tie online sales into the ID Card system the Government can also monitor your online sales patterns by linking the authorisation to the requesting website & items!

Trebles all round !!!

0
0
Happy

And when I have understanding of computers, I shall be the Supreme Being!

Could they implement a drunk shopping credit card, for purchases after 11pm, like a Land Rover from Ebay or a DVD of Time Bandits 1981 .

It would just pretend to let you buy stuff and spoof the pages until the next day.

Didn't this kid have knives, vodka, and porn at home already ?, most houses have 2 of them.

0
0
Pirate

Heres the "REAL"-solution... (Sorry for the USA-centric, pun).

Make "National Bio-metric ID-cards" mandatory...

Redesign computers to be able to read the "National Bio-Metric ID-cards"...

Redesign computers to then be able to use "thumb-print scanners", and thereby, be able to compare the ID-card to the actual "user"....

And finally, (for true "safety")... redesign computers to verify, and thereby "Trust", all software and hardware... so, that "users" cannot alter any of the mandatory "security features".

...Oh wait, "Microsoft Vista" already has all that, built-in. What a fortunate coincidence.

0
0

@John Munyard

What existing laws? Why do you think it's illegal for under-18s to buy them?

The whole point of prepaid cards is that they're not credit and are free of any contractual baggage. Therefore, they're not subject the credit and contract laws which prevent under-18s from getting other cards.

0
0

What database?

@Another back door route. "...for the justification of the National ID card, if you ask me. Enter your unique ID number, and we can check it against our database for your age and address."

Oh, so sorry, we can't verify that as our database has gone missing... Sound familiar?

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.