Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sucky Tech # 1 – Equifax Over 18 I-Card

I come across a lot of innovative uses for technology where the application of that technology is less than stellar. This is the first of a series of posts I’m going to call Sucky Tech. The honour of the first posting for Sucky Tech goes to Equifax and their Over 18 I-Card.

First the tech; in order to get your Over 18 I-Card you just log into the site and provide information similar to accessing your credit report. The system then provides you with an electronic method of verifying your age online. And it’s compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux. It’s pretty much all downhill from there.

First, I don’t want information similar to accessing my credit report on anything to do with the internet. ARS Technica reports that, “Contrary to some reports about I-Card, Equifax doesn't directly tie the I-Card to your driver's license or passport; as long as you hand over a valid social security number ...”

Maybe the way to really screw over Americans is different than how to screw over Canadians, but up here north of the border, I would prefer that my driver’s license information be let loose to the world than my social insurance number.

Most age verification tools I have come across ask for a credit card. Isn’t this less riskier than your credit information? You can always cancel a card and get a new one. Most of the major credit card companies are pretty good at protecting you from fraud these days.

What does anyone use age verification for other than porn? Not sure what else you would want to surf on that would require you to be of the age of consent other than for viewing and/or buying pornography. And if you’re surfing porn on the net, do you really want a lot of personal identification tied to your surfing habits?

Another great idea on the tech side, another great failure on the application of it.

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