Posting by Eric Cordian © 2000 RemarQ

"If you cut through the federal braying and chest-thumping press releases, this has the makings of a very interesting courtroom case.

As you may know, most of the porn on the Net is funded by so-called adult verification services, which permit one to purchase codes that prove one is of legal age to view porn, by submitting a credit card, driver's license, or other proof of age.

Such codes get you into large numbers of adult web sites for free, and the adult verification outfit keeps some of the money, and gives another part of it to the sites that you visit.

The companies that are in the business of doing age-verification are not responsible for the content carried by other completely independent companies that use the age-check codes to admit members, some of which are located in foreign jurisdictions, where different rules apply.

Now the government has just done something quite interesting, which to seize all assets and servers of a US-based adult verification service. The government claims that it was part of an "International Child Porn Ring" along with two of its clients, located in Indonesia and Russia, who, it is alleged, had material depicting people who appeared to be minors, performing acts which appeared to be sexual, on various web sites.

This means that people who have the popular AVS and KeyZ codes, can no longer use them to visit porn sites, and regardless of how this turns out in court, it is going to cost the company millions.

It also raises the question of whether all adult verification services are going have to start verifying the entire contents of every web site that uses their codes for admission.

The people alleged to have run the KP web sites are outside the jurisdiction of the US, so although their principles have also been indicted, it is only the US-based age verification firm that is likely to get reamed.

This is a case worth watching.

The Wired News version of this tale is at ...


And is a bit too long to paste on to the end of my comments."