WASHINGTON, D.C.—Michael Bolcerek, senior vice president of business development for Aristotle's Integrity division, will be a featured speaker at the Combating Cybercrime Conference, taking place Jan. 26 in London during the International Gaming Expo (IGE) in London.
Bolcerek is a well-known expert in age verification and i-gaming, having previously served as president of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), appearing as a spokesperson in the U.S. and internationally on BBC, CNN, CBS, CSPAN, CNBC, Fox News and others. He also was instrumental in lobbying on Capitol Hill for regulated online poker and built the PPA into the leading grassroots voices for i-gaming.
His presentation, “Playing Your Best Hand in Politics; Global Age Verification,” will cover the current political climate in Washington, D.C., and share examples of how other industries such as the movie industry and "virtual worlds” use global age verification to best position themselves with government agencies like the Federal Trade Commission. Aristotle’s CEO, John Phillips, was a member of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force (ISTTF) that worked with state attorneys general throughout the U.S. to rid MySpace of convicted sex offenders. Using global ID verification, the company has supported Parliament’s efforts to force retailers to verify the age of customers when purchasing adult goods and services over the internet.
The final recommendations by the ISTTF did not include mandatory age verification, however. In fact, Adam Thierer of The Progress and Freedom Foundation, who served on the task force, issued a statement in January 2009, shortly after the issuance of the final report in December, that elaborated on the official task force conclusion that there exists no “silver bullet” with respect to online child safety concerns.
“But if the ISTTF had one failing—and this would be the only one—it was that we did not go far enough in illustrating why mandatory age verification will not work and how age verification will actually make kids less safe online,” he wrote, adding that mandatory age verification represents a dangerous solution to concerns about online child safety because it:
Won’t Work: Mandatory age verification will not work as billed. For the reasons detailed below, it will fail miserably and create more problems than it will solve.
Will Create a False Sense of Security: Because it will fail, mandatory age verification will create a false sense of security for parents and kids alike. It will lead them to believe they are entering “safe spaces” simply because someone has said users are “verified.”
Is Not a Background Check: Moreover, even if age verification did work as billed, it is important to realize it is not synonymous with a complete background check. In other words, even if the verification process gets the age part of the process right, that tells us little else about the person being verified.
Is a Grave Threat to Privacy: Mandatory age verification is dangerous because it would require that even more personal information (about kids, no less) be put online at a time when identity theft and privacy violations continue to be a major concern.
Will Seriously Misallocate Resources: Devising and enforcing age verification regulations might also divert valuable time and resources that could be better used to focus on education and awareness-building efforts, especially K-12 online safety and media literacy education. Moreover, it might divert law enforcement energy and resources away from policing serious crimes or more legitimate threats to children.
Aristotle is a leading non-partisan provider of political technology and data. Its Integrity division markets global ID and age verification solutions for government and commercial clients. Integrity is globally focused proving real-time online verification in over 135 countries, and it is implemented in a wide variety of applications and industries from event marketing, digital marketing and government uses to verifying age and identity for financial services, alcohol, tobacco, video gaming, movies, adult entertainment, social networks and virtual worlds.
“This is a great opportunity to discuss a subject I’m passionate about—global ID and age verification—and to help i-gaming industry representatives learn how to move the needle with government leaders. It is also an opportunity to educate legislators about what is available and used 'right now' in the i-gaming business.”
Mr. Bolcerek’s presentation is scheduled at 2:20 p.m. Jan. 26 in Room 2 at the Earls Court Conference Centre Warwick Road, London, SW5 9TA.
For more information about Aristotle's Integrity, click here.