RE: Location services and age limit Re: Location in the news

It is absolutely not the case that every company provides a uniform service
in every country in which it operates. Companies have to make all kinds of
adjustments to fit in with local laws, so having variable ages of
majority/consent is not novel. 


In Spain, for example, they have a specific law which says that a child must
be 14 (not 13 as in the USA and many other countries) before he or she can
join, for example, a  social networking service without first obtain
verifiable parental consent. So at least to join MySpace or Facebook in
Spain the rule is 14, not 13.


In Sweden it is absolutely forbidden to advertise certain products, so they
are not advertised within the .se domain - even though I might be using the
.se domain outside of Sweden where that kind of advertising is allowed. I am
a British citizen. I pay my licence fee for the BBC. Yet if I am in Egypt
(and most other countries) I cannot watch BBC programmes on my laptop. They
detect that I am not in the UK. If I try to play the lottery outside of the
UK.....The list of examples like this goes on and on.


And by the way, there is only one age recognised globally as being the age
of majority, that is 18 (although it allows for local variation true
enough). Defined by the UNCRC. Also the idea is not to stop any child under
the age of 18 from being the subject of or using a location service. The
idea is that where it is established that such a person is under that age
the supplier of the location service must first obtain verifiable parental
consent. Very do-able if the company is willing to go to the trouble and
expense of setting up the systems.


Of course it is always possible that bad guys will invent fake ways of
"proving" you are over 18, but does that provide an alibi for inaction? I
don't think so. That way madness lies. You would never do anything if you
anticipated what illegal methods might derail something. No such fake ways
of getting around the UK gambling web sites' requirements have yet emerged
in the UK. Has the odd child managed to get around the rules? Maybe, but we
haven't heard of any cases yet. 


This is about making an effort to get it right. It is not about having to
get it right 100% of the time. That would be unreasonable. It is not what
the law requires in relation to gambling. As with real world situations you
are only required to make reasonable efforts. 


If I had a pound (or a dollar) for every time I had heard the following, I'd
be writing this email from my spare yacht in the Caribbean. 


"Hey guys. I've thought about this a hell of a lot. My reasoned conclusion
is that we should leave things just as they are and do nothing. We got this
right again. Phew! Think of all the money and effort I just saved us."


From: Perez, Aram [] 
Sent: 04 August 2010 03:33
To: John Carr;
Cc: 'Marcos Caceres'; 'Karl Dubost';;;
Subject: Re: Location services and age limit Re: Location in the news


Hi Folks,

I'll put in my two cents on this topic. First, I have children and
grandchildren and I do not want anything bad to happen to them so I am
sympathetic to John's concerns. But I am a engineer and I believe I
understand the some of the limitations of technology.

Preventing the selling glue, alcohol, tobacco, gambling and other
products/services to people under 18 is much easier in the physical world
than it is in the electronic/virtual world because the seller/provider of
the service can physically see the person wanting that product/service. As
Peter Steiner correctly pointed out in 1993, "On the Internet, nobody knows
you're a dog."
>). Things have not changed in the intervening 17 years.

Of course there are exemptions in the physical world: some persons look
younger/older than they physically appear. So most sellers/providers of
products/services in the physical world have to depend on some sort of
identity card issued by some form of government. In the United States, this
identity card is usually a driver's license. The trouble is that a driver's
license is just that, a license to drive a motor vehicle as stated on the
back of my driver's license: "This license is issued as a license to drive a
motor vehicle; it does not establish eligibility for employment, voter
registration, or public benefits." The license should also state "nor
establish eligibility to buy alcohol, tobacco, glue, etc." but that will
never happen in my lifetime. And I won't get into the business of selling
false identities because enough persons want to buy products/services they
are prohibited from buying because of their age that they are enough (bad)
people who will sell them false identities.

So even if there was some magic technology that could correctly tell the
"age of majority" [1] of a person, I'm sure that that technology would be
used in some unforeseen way to cause harm to other persons, including the
ones we are trying to protect.

Aram Perez

[1] As Karl Dubost recently posted.

On 8/3/10 12:27 PM, John Carr  wrote:

Actually we do restrict the sale of glue, at least in the UK we do. A
shopkeeper caught selling glue to a child can go to jail - same with
alcohol, tobacco, gambling and several other products not deemed suitable
for children. Real measures that work in the real world. And in cities we
have speed limits, often backed up by speed cameras, speed bumps etc.
precisely in order to limit the potential consequences of vehicles doing
harm, and near schools the speed limit is 20 mph.
So let me get this right: you guys invented and created this problem, and
I'm the one, who has to come up with a solution?  Me the non-techie (in this
company)? Neat.
I am not against any of this stuff. I can see the potential value in it, of
course I can. I don't think you need applications like Latitude, Fire Eagle
or Foursquare for you to do a simple enquiry about where the nearest ATM is,
but there you go.
What I am against is big rich companies putting stuff out there without
paying due care and attention - Buzz, Street View, wifi routers, privacy
settings, and now these new location services, which I do think are
qualitatively new and different. They cross a line.
Anyway, I can't see much point in prolonging this exchange. If anyone on the
list can think of a solution I'd love to hear it.
From: []
On Behalf Of Ian Fette (????????)
Sent: 03 August 2010 10:04
To: John Carr
Cc: Marcos Caceres; Karl Dubost;;;
Subject: Re: Location services and age limit Re: Location in the news

Frankly, I think comparing it to a high-wire across Niagra is a bit much.
It's a tool that like anything else can be used by people for the wrong
reasons. We don't station a policeman on every corner to make sure kids
don't run into traffic and get hit by cars, we don't put limiters on cars to
ensure they don't go more than 70mph or whatever the speed limit may be in a
given jurisdiction, we don't restrict the sale of glue to prevent kids from
"sniffing" it, we don't require you to be 18 to buy a video camera, etc.

If you have a concrete, practical proposal, I think we would all be glad to
listen and provide feedback. Continuing to throw out analogies is not
productive. We're not bad people who want to sell kids geolocation to the
lowest bidder. Give a concrete suggestion, don't just say "throw out
geolocation" because by that argument we should also throw out half of
modern society.


Received on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 07:45:45 UTC