A warning about dating Apps

Apple and Google have removed three dating Apps from their App Stores following a warning from the Federal Trade Commission about COPPA breaches. The FTC warns about the dangers of adults contacting children (I imagine that’s in the specific context of dating apps rather than being more general) but without a requirement to age verify before joining a dating App you have to wonder just how meaningful that warning is.  The limitations of COPPA are becoming ever more apparent.

If an App or a space on the internet, or a product, is clearly intended only for adults what possible justification can there be for continuing to supply it without an age gateway? If an adult oriented business cannot be confident its systems can keep kids out, it should cease and desist until it can.

This is not a million miles away from what the GDPR and our data privacy authority say with their emphasis on carrying out risk assessments.

It may be easier in some countries to do age verification but where it can be done it should be done, and where it can’t be done at present somebody needs to pull their finger out.

About John Carr

John Carr is one of the world's leading authorities on children's and young people's use of digital technologies. He is Senior Technical Adviser to Bangkok-based global NGO ECPAT International, Technical Adviser to the European NGO Alliance for Child Safety Online, which is administered by Save the Children Italy and an Advisory Council Member of Beyond Borders (Canada). Amongst other things John is or has been an Adviser to the United Nations, ITU, the European Union, the Council of Europe and European Union Agency for Network and Information Security and is a former Executive Board Member of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety. He is Secretary of the UK's Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety. John has advised many of the world's largest internet companies on online child safety. In June, 2012, John was appointed a Visiting Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science. This was renewed in 2018. More: http://johncarrcv.blogspot.com
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