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The ESRB wants your children’s faces to protect them

This is definitely going to go great


Rating Pending: RP Content rated by GameCrate
Image: GameCrate gives its best rating for this proposal. It's definitely two thumbs up.

The ESRB (short for Electronic Software Ratings Board) is the video game industry body that governs the age ratings for video games. Anytime you’ve seen “E For Everyone” or “M for Mature”, that was the ESRB rating.


Their job is to present the reality of a game and give it a fair rating for parents (or whoever) to know the intended audience of a game. Does it have vulgar language? Is there cartoonish violence? The rating will tell you.


So, the ESRB is currently working together with SuperAwesome (a subsidiary of Epic Games) and Yoti (a firm that handles verifications for ages and more) to make a 24-page proposal. This proposal will take the Children’s Online Privacy Act, known as COPPA, to another level.


COPPA is well over two decades old at this point. The industry, as a whole, already complies with it. When you do age verification on a game or website, that’s COPPA, for instance. Anything that has to do with protecting kids in a game, it’s probably related back to the act as well.


This new proposal would scan the faces of players of a game to determine their age using algorithms. Within the proposal, they assure that all images “are immediately, permanently deleted, and not used by Yoti for training purposes.”


For those unaware, the ESRB is, itself, governed by an organization named the Entertainment Software Association. The ESA handles a lot. They’re the people that generally used to run E3, for instance.


They also are the ones that accidentally doxxed over 2000 journalists back in 2019. Their press list for E3 2019 had such minimal security that it was easy to download.


That list had every attending and non-attending press member that signed up for the event on it. It gave, in plain text, the journalist’s name, email, phone number, and address, to anyone that had it. Of course, it made its way into every internet troll’s hands out there.


If you want to read through the ESRB’s proposal, all 24 pages are available through the FTC. Gamesindustry.biz did a much deeper dive into this as well to show its weaknesses. Based on prior endeavors, I’m sure this is going to go great.

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