Online Age Verification and Children’s Rights

Lawmakers are increasingly turning to age verification as a way to tackle online harms and
illegal activities, for example in the draft EU Child Sexual Abuse Regulation. But whilst the EU
age verification industry alone is reaching a value of several billion euros, there is a lack of
evidence that age verification measures improve the safety of children online.

On the other hand age verification threatens the privacy, data protection and free expression rights of children and adults alike. This can erode democratic freedoms that rely on anonymity online (e.g. journalism), violate children’s autonomy,
and disempower parents and guardians.

This paper represents the joint position of 20 civil society organisations.