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Verisign Develops Token for Age Verification

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the plugging-in dept.

Education 417

FirstTimeCaller writes "A Reuters article is reporting that Verisign in conjunction with an unnamed children's safety group, will release a USB token that can be plugged into a PC to verify the age and gender of a person participating in online chat rooms. According to the article, the token will be available free to students in a handful of schools this fall. School administrators will provide a list of students, with their ages and genders, and VeriSign will encode that information onto the tokens."

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Credit card ? (2, Insightful)

mirko (198274) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338693)

In most countries, credit card authentication was used to ensure one had reached the legal age...
In which situations wasn't it enough, besides the goatse ?

Re:Credit card ? (5, Informative)

Paleomacus (666999) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338711)

Well when I was 15(in 1996) I was able to get a debit card that could be used for 'adult' verification. Doesn't seem like a very good system to me.

Re:Credit card ? (4, Interesting)

russint (793669) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338825)

Well, I can't get a credit card at all (20 years old) due to bad credit.

Not a very good system.

Re:Credit card ? (-1, Offtopic)

strictfoo (805322) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338903)

No, it makes sense. Be responsible with your money or you don't get a credit card.

Can't get a card now? Stop trying to apply every week, wait a couple of months and then get a secured credit (put $150 down, get $300 credit card). Use that responsibility for 1-2 years and then go for a real credit card. In 5-7 years you'll have decent - good credit.

Have fun!

Re:Credit card ? (4, Insightful)

clifyt (11768) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338838)

And now they are giving these things to much younger kids. Its a good way of giving allowance to kids without giving them cash that the bigger kids can steal -- or if they loose it, it can be canceled and the money protected....err...in theory because debits don't carry the same protection credit cards do, but most banks will try to give you close to the same.

Beyond that, when I run a credit card, my business doesn't get to know if its a debit card or not. When I'm on the road, I use my business's debit card that doesn't look anything like the cheesy consumer debits that go out of their way to let the person swiping it know its not a real credit card regardless of the visa logo. For instance, while in North Carolina a few weeks ago, I handed over my personal debit card to rent a car -- rejected. I then give then the business one, accepted -- same bank -- same type of card -- different look.

I'm convinced that the card companies don't tell anyone if its debit or credit and they have just compiled lists of acceptable CC Prefixes.

So no, having a credit card these days means nothing because of as the parent indicated -- debit cards are everywhere and anyone can get them.

Re:Credit card ? (5, Informative)

acceleriter (231439) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338715)

This is about making sure you're a kid, not that you're an adult. The theory is that it'll keep the pedophiles, who won't have the "I'm a kid" token, out of the elementary school "chat rooms."

Besides the "problem" of pedophiles in "chat rooms" being completely overblown, this is probably just the precursor of some sort of infrastructure to eliminate anonymous browsing. And who wouldn't like a piece of selling a token for $20/year to anyone who wants to get any information from the Internet in 10 years?

Re:Credit card ? (5, Insightful)

ninthwave (150430) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338766)

And what kid wouldn't trade there cheap token for a chat room that they see as stupid to some grimy adult for something else?

Re:Credit card ? (5, Insightful)

jmcmunn (307798) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338767)


Yeah, because we all know that none of the pedophiles out there have kids of their own who might leave this key plugged in, or laying on the desk for dad/mom to use?

This is dumb, this does about as much good as the pages before porn sites telling people to not enter if they are not 18. Big deal, a USB key that tells someone I am young. It'll be 2 days maximum until some geek gets ahold of one and then you can buy them online for $25 +S/H.

Re:Credit card ? (4, Interesting)

acceleriter (231439) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338796)

I agree it's a dumb idea--but I think it's really a segue into some companies requiring these tokens for everyone who wants to do business with them. The Federal government, for example, has been trying to figure out for years a practial way to give each citizen a public key to be able to, for example, apply for Social Security benefits or file a FEMA claim online. But since the easiest place to put a public key, a National ID card, spawns (rightfully) mention of the Book of Revelation happens every time it's mentioned, USB keys could be an alternative.

Re:Credit card ? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10338846)

Free iPods is a SCAM! [wired.com]

Re:Credit card ? (1)

grahamm (8844) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338812)

Would it not also be a 'good idea' to use a similar mechanism for keeping kids out of "adult" areas?

Re:Credit card ? (4, Informative)

oolon (43347) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338822)

I recon a pedophile would be able to buy a token off a kid of a small ammount of money, if you were 12 and someone offered you 200 bucks for a silly bit of plastic someone gave you... I think there would be many takers.

The problem with all these ID shemes is aways tying the token to the right person until computers have mandated biometic id readers this is never going to work with remote computers.

Personally I think the best solution if for parents to take an interest in what their children are up to rather than seeing the internet as a why to keep them quiet. Someone will aways slip though the net, the best way for children to be kept safe is education, they need to know people lie, cheat, steal, and there are bad people in the world who would not think twice about killing someone else.

James

Re:Rule #1 (1)

Bastian (66383) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338845)

It doesn't matter if you're doing something useful, or even something that's noncounterproductive, as long as you're doing something.

Re:Credit card ? (3, Insightful)

Maestro4k (707634) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338864)

  • This is about making sure you're a kid, not that you're an adult. The theory is that it'll keep the pedophiles, who won't have the "I'm a kid" token, out of the elementary school "chat rooms."
Of course there's not much to stop a smart pedophile (or pedophiles) from finding a way to create their own tokens (what age do you want to be today?) or just stealing them. The article makes it sound like the tokens may contain the kid's names, age and gender, not just age. I'm sure the pedophiles who are on the chat rooms will appreciate knowing that it's really a kid instead of a police officer on the other end.

Another thought: if they do uniquely identify each kid losing one could open up realms of bullying that are scary. Imagine being able to "prove" you're another kid. Then you go online and tell off all their friends, make lots of enemies, etc. until the lost token's reported and a new one isssued. Poor kid gets back online and faces all his/her online friends refusing to talk to him and complete strangers cussing them out for something they didn't do. Brilliant system.

  • Besides the "problem" of pedophiles in "chat rooms" being completely overblown, this is probably just the precursor of some sort of infrastructure to eliminate anonymous browsing. And who wouldn't like a piece of selling a token for $20/year to anyone who wants to get any information from the Internet in 10 years?
Either that or it's an FBI dream that they'll be able to tell who's really kids online (and of course be able to obtain fake tokens to use when trolling the chat rooms for pedophiles). Personally I agree with you on it being overblown, I suspect the majority of "kids" online talking to "pedophiles" are law enforcement and vigilantes trying to set each other up, neither realizing the other party's not who they think they are.

Re:Credit card ? (1, Funny)

Tim C (15259) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338914)

Besides the "problem" of pedophiles in "chat rooms" being completely overblown

That's just what they want you to think! In reality, they've taken over a part of the internet the size of Wales!!

What the hell does the gaping anus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10338801)

Have to do with this???

Posted with a 'bi' mac (as you like to call them)

Re:Credit card ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10338827)

TRY RTFA! This is about proving you're a kid, not proving you're of age.

Re:Credit card ? (2, Informative)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338859)

In most countries, credit card authentication was used to ensure one had reached the legal age... In which situations wasn't it enough, besides the goatse ?

The point of the token is to prove that you are a minor and thus should be allowed into kids only chat rooms.

The idea of the experiment is to see if the scheme is effective in keeping pedophiles and stalkers out.

Re:Credit card ? (1)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338877)

In most countries, credit card authentication was used to ensure one had reached the legal age...

I think that's mostly a US thing, not a "most countries" thing. Over here in the Netherlands (and as far as I know, most of Europe), nowhere near enough people have a credit card, they're just not that popular.

But it could be that it's my country that is the exception, of course :-)

If it's just to verify "age and gender" . . . (4, Insightful)

acceleriter (231439) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338696)

. . . why is there a "list of students" involved? And seriously, do they not know these tokens are lent? Either this is an insidious attempt at a pilot of some sort of "internet ID" or a completely dumb idea.

Re:If it's just to verify "age and gender" . . . (1)

shird (566377) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338886)

They may be lent, but at least you know that person you are talking to in a chat room is either a girl, or at least a friend of a girl. Neither of which could be some slashdot poster guy posing as a chik.

If an adult is going to lend their token to a kid so they can access porn or whatever, that same adult could just give that kid porn. or booze. or whatever. And these tokens should be treated in the same way, as they are solely used for permission to these things that should only be accessed by a person with those attributes.

I think its a fine idea, its not about knowing the identity of the other person, but knowing they have been given permission to either pose as a person of that age and gender, or actually are.

Re:If it's just to verify "age and gender" . . . (2, Interesting)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338893)

. . why is there a "list of students" involved? And seriously, do they not know these tokens are lent? Either this is an insidious attempt at a pilot of some sort of "internet ID" or a completely dumb idea.

Security is risk management, not risk elimination.

The point of an experiment is to see how significant these issues actually are.

Sharing the token is a bad idea since it will also be used to authenticate to the school web site. If a kid looses the token and has it re-issued then the original is cancelled.

Re:If it's just to verify "age and gender" . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10338900)

Why would you want an identifier proving that you are under age?! What the hell?

This seems to solve a problem that doesn't exist.

Great... (3, Interesting)

cassidyc (167044) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338698)

Now instead of just faking up my ID, I can steal someone elses. All it takes is enough drink and the right students.

Still this security thing is jsut a laugh really isn`t it?

sigh.....

CJC

Re:Great... (3, Funny)

animaal (183055) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338754)

"...All it takes is enough drink and the right students..."

Ah, the good old days of student dating...

eeeeewwwwwww (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10338858)

Creeper! When I saw u on #funtalk teh other nite, u were all like a/s/l? And I was all liek no. u a/s/l first! and u were all like 16 and thwen we cybered.

Now ur saying studnt dating is the good ol days? ur not 16! Gross!

Right... (4, Insightful)

The One KEA (707661) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338702)

Who's going to run the betting pool on how many minutes it takes someone to crack the keys and modify the information?

Better yet, how many kids will lose their tokens?

Not to mention the possibility of the breaching of the privacy of minors.

On paper this sounds like a good way to protect children, but somehow I think the execution of the idea is not going to be as easy as Verisign and Co. think it might be.

Re:Right... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10338778)

Who's going to run the betting pool on how many minutes it takes someone to crack the keys and modify the information?

Oh, it's probably not that bad. Presumably it's an X.509 cert with the key generated on board the token, though that's just a guess. Anyway, it's certainly not worth the effort of doing cracking, except maybe to reuse them for something useful.

Better yet, how many kids will lose their tokens?

Only the stupid ones. The smart ones will sell them to the kind of people who like to hang out on kid's chat channels at $50 a pop. It's a win-win. The kids get some cash, the pervs get to masquerade as kids.

Re:Right... (5, Insightful)

jrod2027 (809997) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338805)

Or how about how long will it take for some pedeophile to get ahold of one of these tokens?
Instead of relying on children to take their word of how old they claim to be, the kids could be fooled by a false sense of security with these IDs.

Peodophile: I'm an 11 y/o kid honest... see my Verisign token proves it.
Kid: Wow, you're right. Want to go hang out?

Re:Right... (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338899)

Who's going to run the betting pool on how many minutes it takes someone to crack the keys and modify the information?

How safe are SSL certificates normally used for HTTPS servers? Can you alter the issued information in SSL certs? Both of these are genuine questions I have, and both of these questions are answered so far by the following: Very safe, apart from one or two small problems with different implementations, and no, you cant change the details after the issuing event (or at least Ive never heard of such a happening).

All verisign need to do is use the same type of certificate and procedure for these tokens, and you have basically eliminated the problem of modified information. So long as they get the implementation right, theres no reason these tokens cant be as strong as standard SSL certificates. This doesnt solve the problem of the tokens being lost, but a password for each use solves that to a certain extent, but deliberate sharing of tokens is something I doubt any system can defeat. After all, you cant protect against a company that goes bad after they have had their SSL cert issued to them, or if they obtained it fraudulently.

Re:Right... (4, Informative)

Maestro4k (707634) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338916)

  • Better yet, how many kids will lose their tokens?
Not at the same time of course, but I'd bet at least 50%. I work for a school system and just yesterday we had about 8 kids get on the wrong buses and another 5 or so who were new bus riders and didn't know where they lived exactly. If they can't remember things as important as which bus they ride and house they live in we certainly can't expect them to keep track of a small USB token.
  • Not to mention the possibility of the breaching of the privacy of minors.
That's the first thing I thought of myself. I work with the bus routing software and when I need to send copies of my databases to the company who makes it to debug a problem I have to make a copy and go through and change all the names to John Doe. I also can't send the whole file since the addresses can't be masked for debugging purposes. How sending an entire list of your kids with names, age and gender to Verisign can be legal is beyond me. AFAIK that would require signed consent from every single parent/guardian for every kid.
  • On paper this sounds like a good way to protect children, but somehow I think the execution of the idea is not going to be as easy as Verisign and Co. think it might be.
Well there's the beauty of it from Verisign's standpoint. They don't have to worry about the execution, they just provide the tokens and authorization servers. The school systems get to sort out the mess from lost/stolen keys and what not. It'll just end up overwhelming the poor staff with more paperwork and problems than they already have to deal with.

Re:Right... (1)

Syberghost (10557) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338921)

Better yet, how many kids will lose their tokens?

It's worse than that; pedos will buy the tokens from them. It'll be the easiest way to circumvent this, and thus it'll be the most-commonly-used way.

So now the Child Stalkers can... (3, Insightful)

KyootFox (209674) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338708)

Just check the online ID before persuing the child??

That's gonna cut into the FBI's stake-outs, isn't it?

Re:So now the Child Stalkers can... (1)

acceleriter (231439) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338755)

I don't think this whole thing is a good idea, but I'm sure Verisign has worked out a deal with the one or two agents really working on the almost non-existent "pedophiles in 'chat rooms'" problem to falsify tokens for them.

In fact, if other users were able to verify the tokens, that would further reduce the hypothetical defendant's chance of being able to claim s/he didn't know the alleged underage participant was underage.

I Hope... (1, Funny)

artlu (265391) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338709)

I wont have to get these.. it would keep me out of the bar!

gShares.net [gshares.net]

Can't work won't work (2, Insightful)

klubkid79 (792253) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338710)

And what is stopping a dubious individual from borrowing one of these tokens?

Re:Can't work won't work (1)

Minna Kirai (624281) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338774)

And what is stopping a dubious individual from borrowing one of these tokens?

The only way it could work is aggressive monitoring. The token must contain not just age/gender of the child, but an ID number into a huge database... and all browsing/chatting done under that ID must be reported in summary form to an adult responsible for the child (parent or teacher).

That way, users of borrowed tokens can be caught by profiling. (Or more likely, lost/sold tokens can be deactivated before the "predatory" adult gets his hands on it)

Re:Can't work won't work (1)

klubkid79 (792253) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338831)

If these kids are anything like my little sister, the chances of them agreeing to have their chat conversations monitored or profiled are slim to none.If these kids are anything like my little sister, the chances of them agreeing to have their chat conversations monitored or profiled are slim to none. They will simply go else where to chat in private.

Re:Can't work won't work (1)

jafomatic (738417) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338891)

Sure. And at the other end of the spectrum is this little gem that makes me wonder about the youth of today:

"Oh, I was letting my friend borrow my screenname."

What the fuck? Over. Are AOL accounts (or any IM protocol) not free anymore? When I was a kid, we had to be encouraged not to say "get your own" and now that there's a good reason to, the kids have finally learned to share?!

Sending it to colleges? (5, Funny)

P-Frank (788137) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338716)

Excellent! I figure by about noon tomorrow I'll download a patch that "officially" makes me a 16 year old girl.

Man, a 13 year old could make a big profit (5, Insightful)

scythian (46974) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338723)

Selling his or her token to some freak on ebay!

Great News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10338730)

Wow, that's great. Now Verisign can track people Internet usage from an early age. They should team up with Amazon and by the time those kids actually have money, they'll be able to by exactly what they were looking for.

Oh noes! (1, Funny)

IntelliTubbie (29947) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338732)

Does this mean that "she looked 18" is no longer a valid defense?

Cheers,
IT

Re:Oh noes! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10338738)

Baby, before I put my hot love stick into you, please insert your USB stick into my PocketPC for age verification.

~~~

Re:Oh noes! (3, Funny)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338770)

But "She had a token proving she was 18" is very probably a valid defence....

Why? (0)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338734)

Whats the point of Proving they are underage?

Shouldn't the reverse be required MUCH more frequently?, proof of adulthood?

unless this is just a hopefully harmless test before the start selling the things in adult bookstores.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10338816)

RTFA

Nothing new! (1)

Bastiaan (153444) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338735)

Coming from Verisign, most likely this is just an X.509 certificate on a hardware token.
Nothing new, except for the addition of birth date and gender to the certificate subject.

Just what little tommy needs! (5, Insightful)

palad1 (571416) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338736)

A personal x509.3 certificate and a crypto key.

So when he's 21 he won't complain when the barcode on his forearm will be used to 'strenghten e-vote security'.

Train them while they are still young, the older they get, the harder for you to teach them new tricks...

Oh, wait, this only works with pkcs#11-enabled chat applications? I guess IRC will have to be outlawed then. You don't want untagged pedophile commies subverting little Tommy on IRC now, do you?

Re:Just what little tommy needs! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10338888)

I'd mod you up if I had mod points. This is the crux of the entire issue. Most people just don't realise it yet.

Marketing at its best? (1)

simpleguy (5686) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338737)

"... unnamed children's safety group ..."

So? Which business is this that is marketing something which basically says :

"OK Parents! Using our technology, it will be safer for your kids to be additional consumers on the internet now"

Please tell me this is not the case.

Cart before the horse..... (1)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338739)

It seems completely obvious to the millions of people who visit /., so why isn't obvious to the people who implement these things.

The only thing that these USB tokens verify is the information on the token!

Untill they surgically graft these fobbles to the children and make them unstealable (ooops not possible), then they are pointless.

hehe WON'T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

har, I thought I would never say that.

Re:Cart before the horse..... (1, Funny)

sita (71217) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338854)

Untill they surgically graft these fobbles to the children and make them unstealable (ooops not possible), then they are pointless.

Even then, a pedophile could steal a kid and insert him or her into his USB socket.

Dumbest Idea Ever (3, Interesting)

LaNMaN2000 (173615) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338741)

This is the dumbest idea in the history of mankind: verifyably identifying children as such on the Internet. Unless, of course, they are trying to help pedophiles find targets that they *know* are too young to be FBI agents.

Re:Dumbest Idea Ever (3, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338787)

I guess FBI agents can get tokens for any age/gender they want.

Re:Dumbest Idea Ever (1)

oolon (43347) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338865)

And no FBI agent is a pedophile or just crookied? Issuing of "Fake" ids is very dangerous, as agents on the take could sell them.

James

OK (1)

Apreche (239272) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338751)

So assuming you put this system in place and it actually works. What happens when someone hacks your school's shitty computers and is able to verify that yes, that person in the chat room is a real 12 year old girl.

Not good.

Re:OK (1)

mrph (708925) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338776)

wouldn't it be even more funny if the school was hacked by a 12 year old girl who only revealed her system ID so they could verify that they were actually fooled by a kid?

Excellent... (1)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338753)

That takes care of the huge problem of 14 year old girls prentending to be 50 year old women.

The non-issue of 50 year old men prenting to be 14 year old boys (or girls) is probably not worth the investment!

Re:Excellent... (1)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338786)

The non-issue of 50 year old men prenting to be 14 year old boys (or girls) is probably not worth the investment!

Well, they probably won't have a token, will they?

Could work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10338756)

I could see this working if the token was strongly encrypted....and possibly referenced to an online database

Blackmarket (1, Funny)

mrph (708925) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338758)

Imagine the kind of money a 16-year old girls ID tag would bring in.
When the black market for these things gets up to speed, the situation will be as silly as it is today .

My rights as an anonymous online individual (5, Interesting)

mr. mulder (204001) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338763)

So, not only are students going to be forced to carry yet another form of ID, but they'll also have to give a third-party company (Verisign in this case) detailed personal information.

What about student's rights - they have the right to enter chat rooms, etc.

I can envision the next step - restricting web sites based upon age, then it will be restricting web pages based upon being a student, finally, just restricting overall.

Luckily, we won't have to worry about this being a wide-spread problem - the system is too flawed to go very far; however, I feel for those that WILL be made to use it.

Bottom line is that NOBODY should HAVE to use this system - somehow it should infringe upon their right to freedom of assembly. Albeit, a *virtual* assembly, it's an assembly!

Am I missing something, or is this lame? (3, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338764)

Unless the article is leaving out some, dare I say key piece of information... in about a week, students will have figured out that the computer doesn't know whether the USB token belongs to the person who inserts it or not.

In about two weeks, they will be borrowing them from older siblings.

In about three weeks, there will be a brisk trade in USB tokens issued to older students who have no interest in the school-approved content that is actually linked to the key, but great interest in money.

In about three months, forged adult-ID USB token will be for sale on eBay.

Even a plain old ID card has a signature and a photo on it, so someone can see whether it matches the holder of the card or not. But these anonymous bits of colored plastic are just an invitation to abuse.

In a corporate setting, I suppose you've signed something that says you're responsible for all use made of the token, and you would be suspiciously unable to do your job if you loaned it to someone else... and subject to dismissal if someone finds out. I don't see how that can be applied in a school context.

Unless they were planning to Superglue the token to the kid?

Let's extend this idea a little. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10338769)

Taco could build in infrastructure to require a "girl" token for anyone here claiming to be female or using a female name. Of course, that would eliminate most of the "women" on Slashdot.

~~~

www.isafe.org (4, Informative)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338773)

see their site... they are the makers of the device

Re:www.isafe.org (1)

Jim_Maryland (718224) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338861)

Or you can see the Verisign (Feb 2004) [verisign.com] release of this.

Doesn't this violate (2, Interesting)

I_am_Rambi (536614) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338779)

some type of law? I would want that information to be authenticated that way. If I remember right, parents will have to consent to it first if it is a public school.

What are the students doing in chat rooms during school anyway? Seems that Verisign just wants another way to make money.

And you know it'll never be cracked because... (2, Funny)

eric_brissette (778634) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338785)

... it's all encrypted on a Lexar JumpDrive

Age-ist (1)

KontinMonet (737319) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338789)

"School administrators will provide a list of students, with their ages ..."

Surely, it will be with their birth date. In any case, how is this administered? Can we guarantee no administrator will be a paedophile?

Gender? (4, Insightful)

LordK2002 (672528) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338790)

What on Earth has gender got to do with child safety?

Clearly in some cases it might be necessary or desirable to prove your age, but unless the chatroom is supposed to be an online matchmaking service I fail to see what the presence of a Y chromosome has to do with anything.

Re:Gender? (4, Insightful)

grahamm (8844) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338869)

Maybe some areas might be gender specific. For example girls might find it easier to discuss things like the the changes to their bodies which happen at puberty if there are only other females present. The tokens could be used to only allows girls of the appropriate age (plus specific vetted adult female advisors) in the chatroom.

Re:Gender? (1)

tuomoks (246421) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338871)

Well said ! Stupid idea anyway but really, gender ?

EBAY! (2, Interesting)

Lifix (791281) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338792)

Gosh. If I was a student, I would be snatching these things up like gold, then pawning them on ebay to teh pedofiles.

This only adds a false sence of security, without biometric identification on these usb things, anyone can become a 16 year old male. Lets go chat up NAMBLA and ask them what they think!

Wow, they are going about this all wrong... (1)

Rahga (13479) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338798)

If they really want to make a ton of money and have this product take off, try selling it to adults. Please. Then build it into gamespy and various game servers. There's nothing more annoying than playing an FPS when some 12-year-old bowl-of-brain-mush comes in and decides to use all of the latest words he's picked up before they go out of style. "Hey, you Nazi-licking (%black slang%) baby (%illegal activity%) roosterface! Yeah, I'm talking to you!"

Okay, so we all know they don't use caps and punctuation, but you get the point. I'd pay good money to know that other people I'm playing against aren't as likely to be mentally damamged, even if it means locking out the good teen gamers.

great so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10338804)

school admins will put student data and email accounts and hand them over to verisign.

No problems here...please move along (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10338806)

As someone who works for a school, I can't possibly see how this could be abused. I mean, students NEVER share their login passwords or anything.

Age or Birthdate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10338813)

School administrators will provide a list of students, with their ages and genders, and VeriSign will encode that information onto the tokens.

I'm guessing it will probably store the birthdate and not the age, or the data will be wrong within a year. Although, I'd expect nothing less from the fine people who brought us Site Finder...

Nothing is perfect! (1, Interesting)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338814)

Why is it that so many Slashdotters piss and moan when any kind of system is released by commercial industry that isn't 100% flawless?

Now maybe I have it all wrong, but I'd say that when it comes to protecting children on the Internet (and yes, it's needed), this is a step in the right direction. Sure it has its flaws, but it's certainly better than nothing at all.

But it seems around here that if something isn't perfect right out of the gate, it's garbage (unless it's Open Source, in which case it gets free pass after free pass...).

Re:Nothing is perfect! (5, Insightful)

Paleomacus (666999) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338908)

We're not looking for flawless. It just seems that this system is completely broken.

It's really not better than nothing at all. The illusion of safety can be more dangerous than being wary of threat.

Re:Nothing is perfect! (4, Interesting)

jackb_guppy (204733) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338919)

This is NOT a step in protecting anything.

1) For a child to be protected, they MUST have the fob.

2) They must use it on presribed machines with the right software.

3) Some big brother is watching out for them.

What this really is a step to personally "brand" everyone. Just like RFID in clothes or under the skin or the tatoos of Germany.

Further you can only be "safe", if you are willing to "pay" for it, including tracking every one of your habits on net.

Age? (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338820)

School administrators will provide a list of students, with their ages and genders, and VeriSign will encode that information onto the tokens.

Surely they should be encoding their date of birth on there and not age?

Otherwise, come the kids birthday, the token will need updating again.

Re:Age? (1, Funny)

nagora (177841) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338852)

Otherwise, come the kids birthday, the token will need updating again.

And Verisign get paid again. I think you've hit on a business plan, there.

TWW

Dangerous (2, Insightful)

mrph (708925) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338821)

The situation could get dangerous if people start relying too much on these things.
Once someone figures out how to crack it, he or she would be able to fool everyone who believes that the system is reliable.
Today most people are sceptical to people online, with this system it could actually get really easy for the scumbags to convince someone of their (fake) age.

Excuse me... (1)

Singletoned (619322) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338829)

"Hi, I'm a pedophile. Would you mind proving that you are underage before I start grooming you for sex?

Ok, that's great. Now what's your address, little girl?"

fascinating... (-1, Flamebait)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338836)

... seeing the tone of comments to stories like these.

Yep, this may be technical difficult, impossible, misguided, or whatever. But that seems to be just a sham veneer for most of those who replied. They are clearly just offended at the very idea of trying to protect children.

Re:fascinating... (1)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338912)

Very close, but you're missing some words.

They are offended at the very idea of trying to protect children without thinking things through.

Face it; 99.9% of all "protect the children!" efforts either don't actually protect the children, seriously hurt the liberty of children and adults, and most of the time, both.

Mod entire story -1: Flamebait (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10338840)

Besides the fact that this has nothing to do with "Your Rights Online", I suspect the editors run with anything involving Verisign knowing that it will whip the rabid Slashbots into a good frothy lather.

Get lost Veribad. (1, Insightful)

mcbridematt (544099) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338844)

As a technology concious teenager, I would like to say FUCK OFF VERISIGN. I WILL NOT BE PLUGGING SOMETHING INTO MY OWN HARDWARE JUST TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WHO I REALLY AM. If I want to disclose my identity in full, thats my own decision.

Of course, they're are a whole lot of teens out there who spend the whole night talking to friends on MSN (blame Micro$haft for capturing this market by bundling it with WinXP).

I would like to call on parents reading this to frag all traces of MSN and other chat networks from their teens computers so the quality of english spoken worldwide does not decline within the next decade. I stopped wasting my time talking to losers on such chat networks because I simply can't bear the quality of english OR SHOULD I SAY SMSlish being driven around by people who think 500 millisecond responses are critical. Spoken to your kids english teacher recently? Doesn't come as a suprise to me that I am one of the only students in the english class that can maintain good spelling with no cutbacks to save time.

Also think what else such USB Keys could do. Enable sitefinder instead of Google? Spy on students in cases where X person is under agreement to lease equipment from the school? Erase traces of non-DRM music to keep their friends at the **AA happy? Hmm, better speed up development of my RFID disk wipe module ASAP. I think I'll need it when school IT staff think they can blackmail me into violating californian breakin disclosure law again. They've already tried to break into my own blog to see what dirt I have marked private on them.

Re:Get lost Veribad. (4, Funny)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338896)

Use of Tired Cliches: Check!
Arrogance: Check!
Rightious Indignity: Check!
Teen Angst: Check!
Hip-Sounding Paranoia: Check!
Rebellion Against "The Man": Check!

Thank you for verifying your age. You are indeed a teenager as you claim.

-Verisign

MOD PARENT DOWN -1, Incoherent (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10338929)

Geez.

Trust mechanism (1)

buzban (227721) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338848)

After hearing this story on the radio this morning, I was thinking that this system would work well if it had a web-of-trust component, similar to that for Thawte [thawte.com] or other digital signature authorities. To me, it's a given that this thing is going to be hacked, and exposing it to as much daylight and as many human users as possible is what would make sure the system was trustworthy....

Re:Trust mechanism (1)

buzban (227721) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338867)

...or even more likely than hacked...when the tokens get lost or stolen...

Changing the world (2, Interesting)

AdamHaun (43173) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338866)

So every chatroom in existence has to be rewritten in order to use the token scheme? Why would anyone go to the trouble of doing this? If schools want safe chatrooms, why don't they just set up their own network and do the authentication themselves? Expecting the whole world to change to support your authentication scheme seems a little farfetched.

Brilliant! (1)

ckuhtz (87644) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338868)

Verisign just developed a way to couple subscriber identity in hardware to everything a subscriber does. Jackpot. *Ding* *ding* *ding*.

Find tokens on eBay 1 day later (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338872)


Verisign age tokens, what a great currency for paedo's.

Of course they give it away to the kids, its value (4, Interesting)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338881)

is to adults. You can't prove you are an adult and thus entitled to something more by NOT having one of these.

The goal to Verisign is obvious -- once they are widespread, you try to get first libraries and then other places to require the use of the "KEY" to use the system to prove your age. As an adult, you'd "need" one, and thus have to pay for it.

Also, its a good first step toward a "universal" (as if) public key. Ideally, imagine something like the Post Office being able to assign a public/private key to you. That's what everyone wanted with these keychain java keyring things talked about in the 90's.

Personally, I hate seeing verisign being given this contract, but I'm not sure someone shouldn't have it.

I'd like to see a U.N. sponsored standard, with countries and or businesses able to register as registrars. The SSL key distribution system we have now works pretty well (if overly expensive).

At a minimum, that same system applied to people as apposed to web server names would go a long way.

Yes, I know all the usual issues apply -- how do you prove its YOU with the key, etc. Lots of discussion on that (which is off topic) and other things. Privacy? What about additional private certificate keys? Well, why not all those things.

Personal ID should have a data component for public key.

So perverts now have a legitimate reason to ask.. (2, Funny)

Zog The Undeniable (632031) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338889)

"Let me see your dongle."

Pass the token (-1, Redundant)

Tomahawk (1343) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338901)

And what's to stop Mr. 21yr old Student giving his USB token to Mr. 10yr old Kid?

Can something like this really work?

T.

Your gender on a card (1)

zoeblade (600058) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338922)

...verify the age and gender of a person participating in online chat rooms

I take it that, while you'll have to carry your age and gender on a card with you, there won't be any options for people whose gender lies outside the binary dichotomy [google.com] ... As if the majority of databases that don't have options for these people isn't enough hassle to begin with.

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