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CONTACT: Amy Smorodin
March 12 , 2007
(202) 289-8928
Age Verification for Social Networking Sites
March 23rd Event to Discuss if Regulatory Proposals are Desirable, Possible

WASHINGTON D.C. - Fears of unsavory characters and objectionable content lurking on social networking websites have led to various regulatory proposals within Congress and at the state level. Most recently, Connecticut's Attorney General announced support for legislation that would require all social networking sites to verify user ages and obtain parental consent for minors. Is such legislation the best way to address safety concerns? Is accurate age verification technically possible? These and other questions will be discussed Friday, March 23rd by panelists at "Age Verification for Social Networking Sites: Is It Possible? And Desirable?," an event hosted by The Progress & Freedom Foundation.

Legislation intended to regulate social networking sites have ranged from banning access to the sites in publicly funded schools and libraries to restricting their use to persons over the age of eighteen without a parent's permission. Critics of these proposals question not only how such sites are defined, but also if technology currently exists which prevents minors from accessing such sites with or without parental permission. Panelists will discuss specific proposals currently circulating and will explore other tools currently available to ensure safe online environments.

Adam Thierer, moderator of the event, has written extensively on the issues of child safety, parental controls and regulatory policy. He is the author of "Social Networking Websites & Child Protection: Toward a Rational Dialogue," which urges a rational look at the function of social networking sites and identifies enforcement problems with current child protection efforts. Prior to the event, Thierer will release a new report, "Social Networking & Age Verification of Minors: Many Hard Questions; No Easy Solutions," which addresses identifies the many unique policy issues age verification mandates would raise.

"Age Verification for Social Networking Sites: Is It Possible? And Desirable?" will be held from noon to 2 pm on Friday, March 23 rd in Room 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Lunch will be served. Those wishing to attend can register online. General questions can be addressed to Jane Creel at 202-289-8928 or Media enquiries can be addressed to Amy Smorodin at 202-289-8928 or

The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.



The Progress & Freedom Foundation