After many months of development, Linden Lab have announced the beta version of their age verification system. Tateru Nino has a great summary of what it does and doesn’t do. Suffice it to say, it’s not compulsory unless you want to be able to access restricted areas in Second Life.
To test the system I contacted two SL residents I know who are casual users and asked them if they’d mind verifying their age for the system. One resident provided their actual name, address and NSW Driver’s Licence with a fake date of birth – they were verified successfully. The second person also provided actual name and address but used a fake Driver’s Licence and fake date of birth. They too were successfully verified.
You do check a box stating you’ve provided correct information so I imagine there’s some protection in the system for Linden Lab if false information has been provided. However, if Linden Lab started to claim that it was a fairly robust security measure, I’d be quite concerned. For the record, my age verification was flawless using a Driver’s Licence – so the company running the service obviously has some Australian information on its servers….
Update: A further missive from Linden Lab admitting to high rates of failures for international users.
Update 2: Another clarification on the process by which the verification occurs – I’m still fascinated how the third-party system has so much information about individuals in the first place.