IGF 2023 WS #28 Age Assurance and Anonymity: What do we want what do we need


Human Rights & Freedoms
Non-discrimination in the Digital Space
Rights to Access and Information

Organizer 1: Jutta Croll, 🔒Stiftung Digitale Chancen / Digital Opportunities Foundation
Organizer 2: Sophie Pohle, German Children's Fund
Organizer 3: Marlene Fasolt, Stiftung Digitale Chancen / Digital Opportunities Foundation

Speaker 1: Hazel Bitaña, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Tebogo Kopane, Technical Community, African Group
Speaker 3: Sonia Livingstone, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: James Brunger, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 5: Torsten Krause, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Jutta Croll, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator

Sophie Pohle, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Marlene Fasolt, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Round Table - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

1. Which role do regulatory frameworks play in regard of age assurance and anonymity?
2. Would a concept of self- and co-regulation of industry help to establish an over-arching age assurance concept?
3. Do the hoped-for benefits of age assurance outweigh the potential drawbacks of a lower degree of anonymity?

What will participants gain from attending this session? The session will draw on various studies and guidelines on age-appropriateness and age assurance, f. e. results from the euConsent project, the Japanese Guidelines for Advertising and Marketing that Affect Children, the European CEN-CENELEC Age-appropriate digital services framework and General Comment 25 on children’s rights in relation to the digital environment. Speakers will provide an overview on existing concepts for age assurance that are in use in different parts of the world and different contexts of usage. Participants will gain a better understanding of the benefits and advantages, but also the shortcomes and pitfalls of age assurance methodologies. Together with industry, civil society, policy makers and young people we will explore various areas for meaningful use of age assurance methods from enabling access to information to safe spaces for interaction, age-appropriate advertising and age-restricted areas where necessary.


Anonymity is a basic principle in the digital environment since the early days of the Internet, guaranteed for even by law in some jurisdictions. But, at the same time knowledge of the user's age is crucial for adjustment of safeguards for vulnerable groups, ensuring access to age-appropriate information and freedom of speech, and beneficial for industry to address their target groups properly and in a manner respectful of human rights. Currently known instruments for age assurance are often extensively collecting data of users or otherwise not very precise. Could we imagine a concept of age assurance that is in conformity with fundamental rights, minimalistic in data processing AND precise in the results? And how could such a concept help preserving anonymity and implementation of age-appropriate design in digital services and advertisement?

Expected Outcomes

The outcome of the session will be a draft road map to age assurance that is in conformity with fundamental rights, minimalistic in data processing AND precise in the results. As a follow-up this road map shall be discussed in national and regional IGF events to explore the feasibility of implementation and acceptance of society in different jurisdictions and regions of the world.

Hybrid Format: To make sure participants can bring forward their own perspective on age assurance and anonymity an overview on studies regards age assurance methods will be made available in advance via the IGF program website. The round table format will allow for all participants to speak in the session, onsite and online, supported by one moderator taking care of the chat as an additional channel for input. After a short introduction 20 minutes will be dedicated for input from the key speakers as listed below, presentations limited to 1 slide. Then 50 minutes are foreseen for interaction between participants onsite and online, where all will be advised to limit their input to really short statements. Eventually 15 minutes are reserved for wrap-up and concluding observations towards the aimed for roadmap. The moderator will adhere to a strict time management and encourage participants online and onsite to take the floor.