Spain develops age verification technology to safeguard children online

According to Spanish Minister of Education, Pilar Alegria, the necessity for well-crafted legislation is paramount, ensuring widespread compliance, in addition to the effective implementation of age verification.

Spain flag on white textured wall

Spain is currently in the process of developing advanced age verification technology aimed at shielding children from exposure to inappropriate online content, including explicit material and violence. This initiative responds to a global surge in concern regarding the potential adverse effects of such content on the development of young individuals, impacting their identity formation and empathy.

The proposed age verification technology will mandate users to confirm their age after downloading an application, scanning a QR code, or obtaining a certificate for website access. Verification methods include identification documents, health residence cards, driver’s licenses, or passports. Expected to be operational by mid-2024, this technology is championed by the Royal Spanish Mint, aligning with recommendations and a set of guiding principles from the National Data Protection Agency (AEPD).

Why does it matter?

Spain’s commitment to fortifying online protection for children mirrors the shared dedication of eight other countries: Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. This shared commitment aligns with significant global initiatives, such as the UK’s Online Safety Act and the EU’s Strategy on the Rights of the Child and Digital Services Act.

However, it is essential to recognise that while age verification technology has evolved, it alone cannot comprehensively tackle the multifaceted challenges associated with online child protection. Privacy concerns are also in focus, emphasising the need for a balanced approach that respects individual privacy rights while efficiently shielding minors from inappropriate online content.