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

On 8/4/10 9:45 AM, John Carr wrote:
> 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."

This still sounds like a legal issue, not an issue with the API itself. 
As objects in the real world (glue, beer, cigarettes, etc.) cannot check 
if the person using them is 18, neither can the API. The API is just 
some dumb bit of code.

So, it seems reasonable to go out and get law made for particular 
services - so long as the law does not restrict me from using the API 
privately... to track my cows, for instance... or to create widgets that 
derive my location from the GPS in my phone, etc. It's no one's business 
what I use the API privately for.

Marcos Caceres
Opera Software

Received on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 08:22:59 UTC