back to article Number crunching knife crime and online ID verification

This afternoon (Friday 16 May}, Margaret Moran, MP for Luton South, will introduce the second reading of a Bill to make age and identity verification compulsory for all online retailers. It is, of course, all about knives – and porn and alcohol and anything else that teenagers are allegedly obtaining over the internet that …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Access to pr0n, drink, etc

    What exactly is different now to 25 years ago when I was in that demographic?

    At 14 I was a regular in my local pub - I was barred on my 18th birthday for endangering the licensee's licence for the preceding 4 years...

    I had ready access to pr0n - if I needed/wanted it - it was just a case of having the balls to try and buy it.

    I think every lad I knew carried a penknife - used 99% of the time for comparing to your mates to see who had the most useless accessory on their Swiss Army Knife. The other 1% was for opening the tricky seals on the booze you bought at the local offy.

    Mine's the mackintosh.

    We didn't have binge drinking - we had a weekend.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Frightening the level of ignorance so high up ...

    ... this has echoes of "Wacky" Jacqui Smiths ludicrous announcement that the government will get peddofiles to register their email address to enable them to be excluded from teenage social-networking sites ...

  3. Glyn

    The plan

    Is there a coherent plan for all this. On the telly this morning there was a guy who was in Tesco with his teenage daughter doing the weekly shop and they wouldn't sell him the beer because his daughter was there incase she got hold of it. WTF!

    And what's the minimum age for this. If you're there with your toddler will you be stopped from buying beer?

    What about fags, DVDs, knifes, poisons, lighters and all the other bits and pieces which have age restrictions on?

    And don't start me on Asda's new challenge 25 plan where you're ID'd if you look under 25. Why? The legal age for alcohol is 18 in this country, not 25.

  4. Mickey Porkpies


    In whitehall there is a monkey and a typewriter with a queue of cabinets members lining up for the next big policy.

    This just goes further to show how out of touch with reality our Government is.

  5. H2Nick

    ...has anyone seen the plot ?


    Don't know what was worse - the fact that Tesco refused to sell to the guy or the Sanctimonious relic the BBC wheeled in to justify Tesco's actions

    He was basically saying "Best to be on the safe side.."

    Clearly unable to assess risk.


    Shouldn't that be Wacqui ?

    I think we need a fruitbat icon.

  6. 3x2

    Nanny knows best.

    Of course the easiest way to stop your kids buying things on-line is to take away their fucking credit cards

  7. Eddie
    IT Angle


    My niece is 14 and can pass for 18, easily. Look at AC at the top - buying beer at 14, no problems. The idea behind the 25 challenge scheme recognises this, and makes it harder for the under age drinkers to get booze.

    In Scotland, as I understand the timeline, the licensed trade were asked, about 7 years ago, to present ideas and measures to control smoking. After 5 years, they had produced no ideas, zero, zilch, nada, squat, so the Government made one for them.

    I think the supermarkets might want to avoid something similar.

  8. Anthony Sanford

    Um. I thought the internet was international

    Well, how is Ms Smith going to impose her rules on the whole internet?

    The only sites this is going to impact are UK sites, this is another stupid law.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vital Statistics !

    How many tabloid editors approve of the policy.

    Effectiveness? Who cares? Is that even relevant to politics?

  10. Liam Johnson
    Dead Vulture


    If the kids can borrow thier parents credit cards in order to buy this stuff, then surely they can also borrow some ID??

  11. Anonymous Coward

    phrase recognition? huh?

    Just when exactly do you type a "phrase" in when buying stuff from an online retailer? You click the "add to basket" icon.

    No, wait - obviously there'll be a challenge/response section just after you enter your password, and anyone who writes incoherent gibberish will be barred.

    So that rules out any politicians and civil servants then...

  12. dave lawless

    Beware the cookie monster

    Nothing is safer for verifying things than a client side text file!

    Where's my OS mascot?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    The bit about tracking access to certain sites where younger people go, surely this needs a phorm style tracking system to work. And its so obviously not going to work it makes them look stupid for even suggesting it.

    Little Johnny, age 8, likes to google fireman sam and tweenies. So, he gets a cookie.

    Suddenly his parents can't buy an 18 certificate DVD from Amazon. Good thinking! </sarcasm>

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Spot on. Until the banks started giving toddlers Solo cards, possession of a credit card was age verification enough for "cardholder not present" transactions. Surely if the powers that be genuinely think underage online purchases are a serious issue, then this is the place to start? Give under-18s identifiable card ranges (or tie it into 3D Secure).

    Of course the government doesn't really give a toss about adolescents getting hold of booze and knifing in each other in the face on a Friday night, because they know the problem isn't really any worse than its ever been, but its another useful little tool in the Climate Of Fear/War on Terror/Police State plan.

  15. RichardB


    "A quarter (25 per cent) of teenage boys and over a third (38 per cent) of teenage girls under 18 have managed to buy items online using someone else's credit card"

    Surely then the real issue at hand is that the government has now performed so much social engineering that over 30% of all children (so presumably skewed towards the upper age range - say 75% of over 15s - I shouldn't imagine too many 3 year olds managing it) are happy to commit credit card fraud, and are presumably not punished for it.

    Go Neu Liebour! Well done.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Thing is...

    Thing is it's legal for kids to drink at home with their parents from the age of 5, isn't it? And in a restaurant with a meal with their parents from age 14, right? It's only illegal to buy the stuff until you're 18. So what if he was gonna buy the beer to drink it with his 15 year old daughter? It's legal...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    <no title required>

    Boozing at 14 - my, YOU were a bit slow off the mark - I was already onto spliffs by then and had gaven up drinking because it interfered with my enjoyment of cannabis. Still can't work out why it is that I am not addicted to crack or smack yet... can't be smoking enough.

    Now then - lets ban metal, glass and wood so everyone has to eat with plastic forks and knives off paper plates. That should save half a life.

    Pr0n... are we gonna ban the Littlewoods catalogue next? that's where I saw my first lady in her underbriefs, I took up the drink shortly after that - I think the shock must have been too much for my fragile child-like mind - yeh - right.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    install parental controlls as default.

    Inspired, because its a commonly held thought we don't get enough rubbish on our computers already... i have no kids so why should i have to remove it.

    Also i dont use MS software so i would automatically be exempt like with the iPlayer.

    Blame kids, blame retailers, blame violent computer games, when can we blame parents for not actually looking after their kids... you are an adult when you are 18 so your parents are liable for EVERYTHING you do before that.

  19. Robin Wilton

    Cowboy City?

    I've heard of mixed metaphors, but achieving one within the space of two words deserves some recognition. Presumably Cowboy City is the one surrounded by Urban Prairie, and full of Domestic Wildlife.


  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC - Littlewoods catalogue

    try the Bravissimo catalogue instead

    seriously, try it.

  21. Slaine

    ... age verification ...

    I have a problem, and no, I don't need fruit. No I have a problem with the idea that one's age is the uniquivocal method for sorting out those who should be allowed to do something (be it smoke, drink, drive, shag or masturbate) and those who cannot be trusted to do it safely. There are three distinct lines of thought ... yes, sorry - I'm on my soapbox again.

    1: Am I to assume from this approach that EVERYTHING is to be age limited and that logically in the near future it might be possible for anyone over the age of 30 to smoke cannabis, anyone over 40 to inject smack, anyone over 50 to get their genitalia pierced ... ??? Is it to be frowned upon if I should want to suck someone's nipples after I have been weaned? Is their to be a minimum age before you can become a peddlefile? (ad finitum)

    2: Age has no bearing on maturity and is it not maturity that is the issue here? Yet still there are people with "conditions" who, at a chronological age of 30 or 40 still have not managed to achieved the mental wherewithall to be described as anything but immature and childlike (a distinction from "childish" which every woman will tell you is the domain of the man). Equally, I have spoken to youths of various ages who could pass for older and more mature than their parents. So age is NOT a safe gauge.

    3: An individual of 18 years is only just old enough to legally watch a media production of people "making out", in Scotland that individual has already spent the previous 2 years being legally entitled to fuck anyone who doesn't yell "rape" (assuming of course that they could if they so desired). The only problem, in Scotland during my formative years at least, was how on Earth do you get inside her pants without being able to buy her a couple of tinnies and 20 bensons first?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ex en ex ex

    from AC back to AC regarding AC's comment to AC

    Bravissimo ... hot dang man... I gotta send that link to ma sister.

  23. Nomen Publicus

    solipsism rules?

    Moron is that kind of MP who really should be locked up as a danger to the population. The idea that you can prevent access to a range of products that are LEGAL to own is insane. In any group there will be older ones who can legally buy whatever the younger ones want (and probably make a profit on the transaction.)

    As for the idiots in Tesco... If the father wanted to give the drink to the daughter the law says he can.

  24. This post has been deleted by its author

  25. Anonymous Coward

    So I don't get this nanny state stuff

    Ok, I admit, I live in the US where nanny state now won't let me carry my pocketknife on a plane any more (even though I had done it lots of times in the past without a problem)...So what kind of knives are you talking about here....small pocket knives, folding lockblades, fixed Crocodile Dundee blades, samurai swords, switchblades (which they seem really hung up on here)?? I mean, the last time a highway patrol guy pulled me over and asked if I had any weapons, I said NO; just a pocketknife - i feel naked without it and his response was "me, too" - not let's have it or any of that crap. Get real people. my girls already have their own knives.

    I'm going, already...

  26. An oppressed mass
    Thumb Up

    re: phrase recognition? huh?

    Simple - a little box pops up and says

    "Do you remember how everything was much worse under the last conservative goverment"

    If you click no you are either too young and don't remember 1997, or a dangerous anti-goverment subversive.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The 'cowboy' 1970's

    After 5 years of drinking in pubs, I was first asked or ID in a pub (oh the irony) on my 18th birthday.

    I was drunk for around 50% of my 'O' level exams, having spent most of the mornings prior in 'The Bell' playing pool, in school uniform, minus the tie.

    100% of my pre 18 smut was obtained at school, including some very illegal (then) Scandanavian stuff.

    Most of the dope I smoked in my early teens was scored at school, including the odd joint from my form teacher.

    Then, as now, where there's a will there's always a way

    Blair's proud boast that he didn't understand computers doesn't look so big and clever 1,992 misconceived and repressive pieces of IT related legislation later. Labour aren't criminals, they are a crime.

  28. Raife Edwards

    If you follow the tech-trail... Compulsory online-ID...

    Frankly, this ("online-ID") is not only coming (no matter what the people think about it)... it has, clearly, actually been officially-planned for some time. In fact, in the U.S. the legislation and various technological and business, mechanisms, effectively mandating such compulsory online-ID, have been progressing for quite some time. Furthermore, it has actually been picking-up considerable speed recently.

    And, dont forget that Microsoft has already created most of the technology (and actually integrated the Windows "security" -"Trusted Computing"- APIs, necessary to eventually require such "identity-verification") This includes; BIOMETRIC-IDs linked with "Uniform, machine-readable" identity-cards, for each -individual- user (???citizen???).

    The final application of this technology is obviously the stated goal of being able to actually require BIOMETRIC user-identification (for each individual-user) before people are allowed to use their computer, or access the Internet, at all (look-up the specifics of Microsofts "Trusted Computing", "NGSCB" and "Endpoint-to-endpoint security").

    This, "Trusted Computing" environment, will result in primarily two ends:

    -One, those that control the over-all system (the Government, big-business interests, etc.) will be able to identify, track, and control, absolutely everything (and every place) that people use on the Internet.

    -And two, Microsoft (and their various "media-partners") would finally be able to achieve the perennial-dream of perpetually controlling, and billing, each individual "user" for absolutely everything that they use a computer to accomplish.

    This absolutely-amazing, and painfully-apparent, convergence of goals, kinda makes you wonder if there was a connection between the U.S. Government virtually letting Microsoft completely-off... after the company was found, undeniably, absolutely-guilty of committing numerous, egregious, Anti-competitive actions, and violating the Law... and the unbelievably-convenient timing of Microsofts initial large-scale push for their, so-called, "Secure Computing" initiatives... doesnt it..?

    And, my sad observation is that, England and the United States seem to be happily skipping hand-in-hand, down the exact-same, destructive, totalitarian-control, path.

  29. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge

    New World Order

    Clearly to make these little things work: banning paedofiles, stop children buying knifes etc we need a really BIG thing. Global ID, online and physical.

    "Well, how is Ms Smith going to impose her rules on the whole internet?

    The only sites this is going to impact are UK sites, this is another stupid law."

    You see people in government know this. Either they have been specifically told or they instintively know that such a thing is on the cards.

    The aim is not really to stop children stabbing each other, "think of the children" is a banner under which the real plans are implemented. These rules will affect everybody not just those "who have something to hide". They are aiming to give us the feeling of beening monitored 24x7.

    The police state. Now why do they want a police state? Maybe something really BAD is about to happen and we will be on the streets shouting about it.

    Notice how they could not contain all the football hooligans at a recent football match. They know they are out numbered. They are trying to build a prison without bars, a prison of the mind.

    I suggest everyone goes ot and commits an act of mindless vandolizm. You will be suprized at the fact you will get away with it. The prison is truly being created in your mind.

  30. Anonymous from Mars

    @New World Order

    "I suggest everyone goes ot and commits an act of mindless vandolizm. You will be suprized at the fact you will get away with it. The prison is truly being created in your mind."

    Just don't go posting the video to YouTube afterwards.

  31. michael

    50% of under 18 males tryed to buy porn?

    eather this study is grosley inadquate or teenage boys are much more law abiding then in my day

  32. Anonymous Coward


    Of course this reflects official thinking (hm - need a new phrase for this obvious contradiction in terms), Moran is an ultra-loyalist who rose through the hard-driving world of local authority housing departments, and has held a succession of bag-carrying PPS positions over the last decade, but somehow has never attained the heights of independent ability required to become a junior Home Office minister

    and exercise her true calling of petty authoritarianism - unlike such a towering IT-genius as Joan Ryan.

  33. Loki

    So glad...

    I dont live in totalitarian UK anymore. I live in good old free Russia where we have a democracy. One man, one vote.... Putin is the man, and he has the vote. At least here you know the system is corrupt ;-)

    Still, will this actually stop anyone making these purchases. As someone said, it will come where it will become more difficult but when i was a teen i was buying alcohol without Id standing right next to the sign that said "Are you 18?"

    Can't buy over the internet? Go to your local offie where the owner will happily sell you a 4 pack.

    The porn is a bit harder, i used to find mine at the local dump where people used to throw their old mags.

    All this tracking and verification is getting a little dangerous though. Daddy's daughter uses the computer to look at some underwear on the web. Next thing police bust door down because Phorm (or whatever) has alerted them that a male adult been looking at pictures of little girls underwear.

  34. michael

    @new wrold order

    "I suggest everyone goes ot and commits an act of mindless vandolizm. You will be suprized at the fact you will get away with it. The prison is truly being created in your mind."

    it allways was try reading night watch and thud by terry pratchet

    socity has allways ruled by pusading pepol that they will be caught of they comite a crime it is not so and only the soicpaths of the world relise this

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