Sunday, July 09, 2006

Problems with using adult-id cards and credit cards

The original concept of COPA in 1998 called for webmasters to require visitors to identify themselves with credit cards or adult-id cards. After the litigation over the Communications Decency Act, it had seemed that the use of id cards was preferanle to the idea of banning certain content on the Internet altogther. This turned out quickly to be a naive idea.

There are many deficiencies to this approach. Banks generally issue credit cards only to process financial transactions, not to identify a customer for access to a website. In the age where we are fighting identity theft, it would be risky to encourage webmasters to access credit card numbers and possibly store them, exposing them to hackers.

When I checked into all of this in 1998, adult-ID cards generally were expensive and intended for use with hard-core pornography, not for "good faith" adult subject matter. I am not sure how they work today (2006). Here is one example that I found with a routine search:

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