New Age-Verification System Emerges

Gretchen Gallen
BEDFORD, Mass. – A new age-verification prototype is being jointly developed by information security software company RSA Security and Israel-based i-Mature for preventing children from accessing adult websites and chat rooms.

Called Age-Group Recognition, the technology can determine through a simple biometric bone-scanning test whether a user is a child.

The AGR device, which can be attached to the side of a computer, uses ultrasound to check many factors, including the level of calcium in the bone, which would determine whether the person is over a certain age.

As part of the partnership between the two companies, RSA's cryptographic solution SecurID will be integrated into AGR as a back-up form of user authentication that protects and manages identities and information access.

According to RSA, the technology can be utilized by any sites that install the solution, and it can be used in homes, schools, wireless LAN locations, libraries, Internet cafés and airports, RSA said.

Additionally, AGR is compatible with mobile phones, television, video and DVD systems.

"Today's youth is an Internet-savvy group," said Shmuel Levin, founder and CEO at i-Mature. "They grew up with the technology and often are found to be surfing the net freely without adult supervision. Unfortunately, the Internet also provides an outlet for malicious and unsafe behavior."

Levin added that AGR units are still at least two years from being rolled out.

"[AGR] is further differentiated from existing technologies by the fact that it performs a true age group verification online, in real time, does not need or maintain a pre-installed database or list of users, and the biometric test results are not stored anywhere - meaning that users' privacy cannot be compromised," RSA said in a statement.

Levin added that the partnership between his company and RSA will include joint research as well as joint marketing, market education and engagement with government policy makers.

I-Mature is currently working on partnerships with computer game developers to block extremely violent and un-educational materials.

I-Mature will be demonstrating at RSA Conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco from Feb. 14 to 18.