Skout's recent problems highlight the continuing challenge for apps and websites.
The horror stories that emerged last week around flirting app Skout highlighted a persistent problem for digital properties, notes The New York Times.
Without a standard method for verifying user ages, Web properties continue to run the risk of serving up inappropriate content or making problematic contacts between users--and technology specialists admit there’s no silver-bullet solution on the horizon, the Times reports.
The key challenge: The United States considers many of the available verification methods violations of privacy. Concerns around a national identity database, or tracking of users’ online behavior, can trump security concerns, artificial intelligence specialist Oren Etzioni told The Times.
Although start-ups have begun experimenting with different methods of age verification--for instance, Jumio Inc. has developed a technology that turns a web camera into an ID card reader--there isn't yet a standard technological solution.
To keep minors safe online, companies must continue to rely on increased awareness of Internet safety and parental vigilance, reports the Times.