In a first such move, Google on Thursday said it will soon ask users in Australia to provide a valid driver’s license or passport to access age-restricted content on YouTube and Google Play.
If Google systems are unable to establish that a viewer is above the age of 18, it will request to provide a valid ID or credit card to verify their age, said the company.
“Over the coming month, we will be introducing a new age assurance step on YouTube and Google Play,” said Samantha Yorke, government affairs and public policy senior manager at Google.
This added step is “informed by the Australian Online Safety (Restricted Access Systems) Declaration, which requires platforms to take reasonable steps to confirm users are adults in order to access content that is potentially inappropriate for viewers under 18”, she added.
The move is to provide users with “age appropriate experiences”.
“As part of this process, some Australian users may be asked to provide additional proof of age when attempting to watch mature content on YouTube or downloading content on Google Play.”
Google considers a valid ID as one issued by the government, such as a driver’s licence or passport.
Currently, when content is age-restricted, users coming to YouTube must be signed-in with a Google account and their account age must be 18 or older in order to view the video.
To make sure the experience is consistent, viewers attempting to access age-restricted videos on most third-party websites are redirected to YouTube where they must sign-in and be over 18 to view it.
“We understand that many are turning to YouTube, Google Play, and our other services at this time to find content that is both educational and entertaining,” said the company.