What is euCONSENT?
Will verifying my age or the age of my children, or using the network to give consent as a parent to my child sharing their data, cost me money?
The euCONSENT project does not deal with the way these services are paid for.. It is purely concerned with how different providers of age checks and parental consent can share those checks with one another so you do not need to repeat the full age checking or parental consent process for every website you use.
At present, we are unaware of any providers of either of these services who do charge consumers. Generally, it is the websites which are being accessed that fund the cost of these checks.
Will it be 100% effective?
In general, the checks the system will be supporting need only be done as rigorously as the risks to children they are addressing require.
So, for some higher risk situations such as buying a knife online, checks will need to be almost 100% accurate – at least as accurate as you would find in a shop – while for lower risk situations, like accessing a PEGI-rated computer game, it may be reasonable to ensure that a child is old enough, as long as it is actually within a year or two of the age limit.
The detail of this varies depending on the site’s policies, and the regulations that apply to particular purposes in each European country – the system will accommodate these differences.
Can I turn it off?
Users are always in control of their data when using the euCONSENT network and will need to give consent if they want to take advantage of the new network to reduce the number of times they must prove their age or take action to give consent to share children’s data.
How will age verification work?
There are an ever-increasing number of ways to prove your age online. Different providers of age checks offer different methods:
One option is to take a selfie, and then a computer compares it to thousands of images of other people whose age it already knows, and it estimates how old you are by comparison. If this happens, then there is no need for the photo you share to be kept – it should be deleted straight away unless you agree it can be retained for some other reason.
For an exact answer, you can submit official identification such as a passport, ID card or driving license or give your permission for other databases such as banks or electoral rolls to be checked. Whichever method you choose, any provider working as part of the new network will be independently audited to ensure they protect your privacy and data security, and give accurate age checks.
What if I’m not from the EU?
Not a problem. You do not need to be from the EU to use the network.
How will you gain parental consent?
Younger children cannot give permission to websites to use their personal data without (or legal guardian) giving consent. So the a child’s parent before any data is shared, and secure their approval for that.
It is up to to design how they go about that – our system will make it easier by hen a child user , and then using the same contact details to reach their parents (or legal guardian). And it will enable you to withdraw consent if you change your mind.
What if I visit a non-EU country, can I use euCONSENT then?
The internet is a global entity, and age checks are needed in many countries outside the EU.
So the system may be used outside of Europe, and some international platforms might make use of it for people worldwide.
Platforms based inside the EU may also use it for their customers wherever they are globally.
Should I no longer use parental controls?
This system will not be a replacement for parental controls. We advise parents to continue to use them as normal as an effective way to keep children safe online.
Also, even using all the technical options, children may still stumble across things that alarm or confuse them, so we always recommend that parents should talk to their kids about what they might see and encouraging them to talk to you about anything that worries them.
How long will my age check last?
Sometimes it will be enough to have completed an age check at some point in the past year. On other higher risk occasions, you may need to do a fresh check or simply prove it was you who completed the previous check.
Will I have to prove my age every time I use a website?
No, the aim of the system is to reduce how often you need to prove your age.
Once you prove your age on one website, you may not have to complete another check for 12 months in lower risk situations.
Does the euCONSENT network protect my privacy?
The euCONSENT system does not hold any personal information at all. In fact, euCONSENT does not really exist as a single entity – there is no computer in a cupboard operating it. That is because it is just a network connecting other providers together so they can share checks with each other when you ask them to.
As a result of using euCONSENT providers to prove your age or get parental consent, the you visit will not know anything more about you except that you are the right age to use their website. The age verification providers can only retain information you give them permission to hold, and will anonymise that to make it even safer. And they can only use that data for the purpose you agreed to give it to them which will usually be just to prove your age to websites when you are online.
What happens if there is a data breach on a site I have visited?
The euCONSENT approach to age verification reduces the risk of a data breach arising as a result of age checks because the websites you visit do not need to store any data about you to conduct age checks. They just use the euCONSENT system to get an answer to the question – is this user old enough, yes or no?
I don’t want to give my personal details to prove my identity, what can I do?
There are many ways to verify your age so there should be one that you will be comfortable with. For example, some providers estimate your age so you don’t need to tell them your name.
Does the website I want to visit know who I am?
No, as a result of the age checking process, the website does not know anything about you other than you are the right age to access it.
Will my information be sold by euCONSENT for any reason?
No. euCONSENT does not hold any personal information.
At what age does a child no longer need consent to share their personal data from a parent or guardian?
That depends on the EU country you in. The age of digital consent ranges from 13-16 in EU Member.
However, this rule requiring parental consent only applies in certain situations where a website needs to ask for permission to use personal data. There are other legal ways to use data that do not require consent, such as needing to do something in the public interest.
Does the law require me to use euCONSENT?
No. It is sometimes the legal responsibility of the website to ensure age verification and parental consent are accurate and correct. euCONSENT is just one way for a website that needs to do age checks to comply with the law but there is no law requiring you to make use of euCONSENT.
Will it be a criminal offence to lie about my age or the age of a child?
It is not a separate offence in any EU country as far as we are aware, but it could be considered as part of other offences, such as child abuse, to help a child to access adult-only content online or a breach of licensing laws to lie so a child can buy goods and services whilst they are underage.
Why is the UK a part of this project if we are no longer in the EU?
Many countries around the world apply age restrictions online, and the UK shares many laws with the EU, having been a member for many years, so it is sensible to create a network that can work in the UK as well as across the rest of Europe.
(euCONSENT began when the UK was still part of the EU, and arrangements are in place to continue to allow collaboration between the UK and EU organizations.)
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