In Louisiana, it is clear that the “LA Wallet” app is not the only method of proving age to comply with Act No. 440. Adult publishers should carefully consider this app and the range of alternative methods of age verification before relying on it to provide a robust legal defence to claims brought under this new law, to satisfy themselves that their selected method(s) will stand up in court.
The law allows, quite explicitly, for other providers and alternative methods of age verification, and they would not need to be approved by the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles. The law states:
(8) “Reasonable age verification methods” include verifying that the person seeking to access the material is eighteen years of age or older by using any of the following methods:
(a) Provide a digitized identification card as defined in R.S. 51:3211. [where “Digitized identification card” means a data file available on any mobile device which has connectivity to the internet through a state-approved application that allows the mobile device to download the data file from the Department of Public Safety and Corrections or an authorized representative of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections that contains all of the data elements visible on the face and back of a license or identification card and displays the current status of the license or identification card.]
(b) Require the person attempting to access the material to comply with a 18 commercial age verification system that verifies in one or more of the following ways:
(i) Government-issued identification.
(ii) Any commercially reasonable method that relies on public or private transactional data to verify the age of the person attempting to access the information is at least eighteen years of age or older.
Government-issued identification would include physical documents, such as passports and, indeed, traditional driving licenses – the key legal requirement is that these are verified. That can be achieved by electronic Identity Validation Technology (e-IDVT). It is recommended that solutions are certified through an audit which meets the requirements of ISO/IEC 17065:2012. So, Louisiana residents do not need an electronic license to prove their age for this purpose; and indeed, those from out-of-state are equally able to verify using their usual state-approved ID.
Judging what constitutes the broader category of “a commercial reasonable method” will fall to the courts, but using approaches which have been certified under relevant international standards (e.g. BSI PAS 1296:2018) provide strong evidence that a publisher has acted “reasonably” as the statute requires.
No solution is infallible. Recently, it was reported that a fraudster obtained a fake LA Wallet credential by using stolen credentials belonging to a prisoner. (https://www.biometricupdate.com/202303/banks-hit-with-biometric-fraud-fake-mobile-drivers-licenses).
Our advice to adult websites seeking to apply age verification to reduce their risk of lawsuits, is to select suppliers and methods which have been independently tested and certified, ideally against recognised international standards. This will bolster the case for the respondent should a claim be brought under this new law.