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Summary:

Many adult sites and social networks require users to be 13 or 18 to use their services. The UK fined Playboy for not doing enough to enforce these rules while, in the US, attitudes have taken a different direction.

British regulators fined Playboy nearly $160,000 after finding the publisher didn’t do enough to prevent minors from visiting its website. In a statement issued on Wednesday, the agency Ofcom said Playboy’s “failure to protect children .. was serious, repeated and reckless.”

In deciding to fine Playboy, Ofcom also concluded that requiring visitors click an “Enter I am over 18″ button was not an effective age verification system.

The fine, the second one the UK has levied in a month, comes at a time when the debate over age verification has taken a different direction in the US.

While America recently tightened rules about how much information app makers can collect from children, there has been little discussion over requiring kids to prove their real age. As the New York Times reported in June, a federal task force in 2008 proposed ideas such as fingerprint scans or voice detectors. No such measures were adopted, however, and the issue has come to be seen in America as a question of parenting.

  1. A $160 K fine is like nothing to Playboy. In comparative terms, it’s probably less impact than issuing a $1 speeding ticket to the average American. Not sure why the regulators even bother with such no consequence fines when corporations do something wrong.

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  2. What are websites supposed to do? Most of the US drinks sites ask for date of birth. Is that legally safer as young people can’t subtract?

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