card “卡片”,熟词生义,意为“要求…出示证明文件(以确认年龄,如购酒时)”If you are carded, someone in authority asks you to show a document to prove that you are old enough to do something, for example, to buy or drink alcohol.

divulge /daɪ’vʌldʒ/ 泄露(秘密);透露(信息);If you divulge a piece of secret or private information, you tell it to someone. ◆ Police refused to divulge the identity of the suspect. 警方拒绝透露嫌疑犯的身分。

pernicious /pə’nɪʃəs/ 有害的;恶性的;If you describe something as pernicious, you mean that it is very harmful.

gravitate /’grævɪteɪt/ If you gravitate towards a particular place, thing, or activity, you are attracted by it and go to it or get involved in it.  注意搭配表达 gravitate to/toward(s) sb/sth ◆ Many young people gravitate to the cities in search of work. 许多年轻人被吸引到城里找工作。

traverse /’trævəs/ 横穿;横越;穿过;If someone or something traverses an area of land or water, they go across it. ◆ I traversed the narrow pedestrian bridge.


Anonymity No More? Age Checks Come to the Web.

Richard Errington clicked to stream a science-fiction film from his home in Britain last month when YouTube carded him.

理查德·厄尔林顿(Richard Errington)上月在英国家中通过流媒体点了一部科幻片,结果遭到YouTube的盘查。

The site said Mr. Errington, who is over 50, needed to prove he was old enough to watch “Space Is the Place,” a 1974 movie starring the jazz musician Sun Ra. He had three options: Enter his credit card information, upload a photo identification like a passport or skip the video.

网站称已经超过50岁的厄尔林顿需要证明自己已经到了能看《太空妙境》(Space Is the Place)的年纪,那是1974年的一部由爵士音乐家桑·拉(Sun Ra)主演的电影。他有三个选项:输入自己的信用卡信息,上传一张身份证件照片,比如护照,或放弃观看这部影片。

“I decided that it wasn’t worth the stress,” he said.


In response to mounting pressure from activists, parents and regulators who believe tech companies haven’t done enough to protect children online, businesses and governments around the globe are placing major parts of the internet behind stricter digital age checks.


People in Japan must provide a document proving their age to use the dating app Tinder. The popular game Roblox requires players to upload a form of government identification — and a selfie to prove the ID belongs to them — if they want access to a voice chat feature. Laws in Germany and France require pornography websites to check visitors’ ages.


The changes, which have picked up speed over the last two years, could upend one of the internet’s central traits: the ability to remain anonymous. Since the days of dial-up modems and AOL chat rooms, people could traverse huge swaths of the web without divulging any personal details. Many people created an online persona entirely separate from their offline one.


But the experience of consuming content and communicating online is increasingly less like an anonymous public square and more like going to the bank, with measures to prove that you are who you say you are. This month, lawmakers in Washington, which has lagged other world capitals in regulating tech companies, called for new rules to protect young people after a former Facebook employee said the company knew its products harmed some teenagers. They repeated those calls on Tuesday in a hearing with executives from YouTube, TikTok and the parent company of Snapchat.


Critics of the age checks say that in the name of keeping people safe, they could endanger user privacy, dampen free expression and hurt communities that benefit from anonymity online. Authoritarian governments have used protecting children as an argument for limiting online speech: China barred websites this summer from ranking celebrities by popularity as part of a larger crackdown on what it says are the pernicious effects of celebrity culture on young people.


“Are we going to start seeing more age verification? Of course,” said Hany Farid, a professor of engineering and computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, who has called for more child safety measures. “Because there is more pressure, there’s more awareness now, on how these technologies are harming kids.”

“年龄核实是不是会越来越多?当然,”呼吁增加儿童安全措施的加州大学伯克利分校工程和计算机科学教授汉尼·法里德(Hany Farid)说。“因为现在有更多的压力了,人们更多地意识到了这些技术对孩子的危害。”

But, Mr. Farid said, regulators and companies need to proceed with caution. “We don’t want the solution to be more harmful than the problem,” he said.


Many websites have long required visitors to submit their birth date to see content meant only for adults. But visitors could usually do so without showing any evidence of their age.


That is no longer enough for some regulators. New child-protection guidelines in Britain say some websites need to take additional steps to verify their users’ ages when the services collect sensitive user data.


An update to the European Union’s rules for video and audio services requires sites to protect minors, which may include checking users’ ages. In response to the change, Google said last year that it would ask some users of YouTube, which it owns, for their identification documents or credit card details before they could watch adults-only videos. A spokeswoman for Google pointed to an August blog post where the company said it was “looking at ways to develop consistent product experiences and user controls for kids and teens globally” as regulators applied new rules in different countries.


Facebook is exploring similar options. The company said in a July blog post that it was developing programs to look for signs that users were lying about their age, like spotting when someone who claims to be 21 gets messages about her quinceañera. But when “we do feel we need more information, we’re developing a menu of options for someone to prove their age,” Pavni Diwanji, the company’s vice president of youth products, said in the post. Facebook later said one of the options would involve providing identification documents.

Facebook也在考察类似的选项。该公司在7月的一篇博客文章中说,它正在开发程序,寻找用户谎报年龄的迹象,比如找到自称21岁的人何时收到有关她五岁生日的信息。但该公司负责青年产品的副总裁帕夫尼·迪万吉(Pavni Diwanji)在文章中说,“当我们确实觉得需要更多信息时,我们会制定一系列选项,让人们证明自己的年龄。”Facebook后来表示,其中一个选择是提供身份证明文件。

Many of the new age verification efforts require users to submit government-issued identification or credit cards information. But other companies are using, or considering, other options, like software that scans a user’s face to approximate the person’s age.


Critics of the checks worry that the requirement will force users to give sensitive information to websites with limited resources to prevent hacks. Outside companies that offer age checks would be vulnerable, too.


“Either way, that’s still a treasure trove of data that’s exploitable,” said Daly Barnett, a staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an online privacy and free speech advocacy group.

“不管怎样,这仍然是一个可以被人利用的数据宝库,”在线隐私和言论自由倡导组织电子前沿基金会(Electronic Frontier Foundation)的技术人员戴利·巴内特(Daly Barnett)说。

Many companies, and governments, say they are putting measures in place to address privacy concerns, like limits on how long data is stored. The British privacy regulator overseeing the new child protection code said this month that websites should deploy the most aggressive age checks — like requiring government identification — only when the potential risk to a child was equally significant.


While sorting out which age check method to use, Roblox, the game company, showed prototypes to 10 teenage players, said Chris Aston Chen, a senior product manager at the company.

游戏公司Roblox的高级产品经理克里斯·阿斯顿·陈(Chris Aston Chen)说,该公司在选择使用哪种年龄验证方式时,向10名青少年玩家展示了选择样板。

One possible method required players to get on a video call, while another checked government databases. Mr. Chen said the players gravitated toward using government IDs, an option they trusted and thought was convenient. (Roblox’s chief product officer is a board member of The New York Times Company.)


The technology will also make it easier for Roblox to keep out players it has barred because of inappropriate conduct in the voice chat feature. If those players log back in using a new account but try to verify their age using the same government document, they’ll be locked out.


“I do imagine that over the next few years that there will be an increased level of comfort and expectation, almost, to provide some sort of personal verification on a platform for the greater good,” Mr. Chen said.


Some services are resisting the checks. Twitter allows users to disclose their birth date but does not require it. If users want to view adult content — nudity is prevalent on the service — they must click through a warning but don’t have to prove they are 18 or older.


“At the heart of Twitter is the belief that there’s a huge value to the public conversation of people being able to speak pseudonymously to the world,” said Nick Pickles, a senior director of global public policy strategy at Twitter, “and also not requiring a significant amount of personal information to be provided before you can use online services.”

“Twitter的核心理念是相信用户在匿名状态下向全世界发表言论对公共对话有巨大价值,”Twitter全球公共政策策略高级总监尼克·皮克尔斯(Nick Pickles)说,“以及在使用网上服务之前,你也不需要提供太多个人信息。”

The shift might be especially troublesome for some people, critics said. Posts related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are more likely to be mistakenly marked as “adult” content even if they are not overtly sexual, for example, said Ms. Barnett of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.


Automatic facial analysis is also often less accurate for female faces or people with darker skin. And critics worry that strict age checks could make life more difficult for people who rely on anonymity online, like sex workers and political dissidents.


Perhaps no part of the web has more new age check requirements than pornography sites, which are often at the leading edge of technology trends. In addition to Germany and France, governments including Poland, the Philippines and Canada have considered proposals that would require pornography sites to check ages.


“The internet was created by adults, for adults,” said Julie Inman Grant, who runs Australia’s Office of the eSafety Commissioner and has been developing age-check guidelines. “And I think one of the key challenges for us is to come up with a system that proves a child is a child sitting behind a keyboard.”

“互联网是成年人为成年人所用而创建的,”澳大利亚电子安全专员办公室(Office of the eSafety Commissioner)负责人朱莉·英曼·格兰特(Julie Inman Grant)表示,她一直在着手制定年龄验证的规则。“我认为,对我们而言最关键的挑战之一,就是要构建一个系统来证明坐在键盘后面的孩子真的是一个孩子。”

It is unclear how internet users will respond to the increasingly common age checks.


For months, YouTube explained to frustrated users on Twitter that it was demanding government IDs because of new regulations.


“I pay for youtube music, yet it wants me to upload a copy of my ID so it can verify my age before it will let me play ‘in bloom’ by Nirvana,” one user said. The user noted that he had first bought the track on cassette “when I was about 12, almost 30 years ago.”

“我为YouTube音乐付费,然而它却要我上传一张身份证副本,以此来确认我的年龄,然后才能允许我播放涅槃乐队(Nirvana)的《In Bloom》,”一位用户表示。该用户说他在“大约30年前,也就是他12岁左右的时候”就第一次购买了包含该曲目的磁带。

“This is a rule applied to video sharing platforms in certain countries,” YouTube’s customer support account responded.


Mr. Errington in Britain said YouTube had asked him for a credit card when he tried to watch “Space Is the Place.” He doesn’t have one. And he said he felt uncomfortable uploading a photo ID.


“I wasn’t prepared to give out this information,” he said. “So the Sun Ra video remains a mystery.”


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