‘Surprised? No, not really!’
The ‘Effective Age-gating for Online Alcohol Sales’ report, funded by Alcohol Change UK, is published today. Written by Jess Muirhead and Vic Grout, it considers the question of how easy it is for UK under 18s to purchase alcohol via the Internet, and makes five key recommendations:
Recommendation 1: The law must be clarified
Despite its best intentions, the current law is ambiguous in relation to how and where safeguards are to be applied to prevent under 18s obtaining alcohol online. If the intention really is to allow age-checking on delivery as a substitute for online verification then that should be published as official guidance by the relevant authorities. However, knowing such measures to be as ineffective as they are, it is to be hoped that the necessary clarification would move the law in the other direction: that robust online age verification – at the transaction stage – becomes a clear legal requirement.
An open request for help/consultation here. Please get in contact if you can …
Two researchers at Wrexham Glyndŵr University, Jess Muirhead and Prof. Vic Grout, have been commissioned by Alcohol Change UK to undertake a study of the effectiveness of online ‘age-gating’ mechanism’s in preventing under 18-year olds from purchasing alcohol via the Internet. We have limited time to complete this research and produce our report so we are looking to conduct interviews with relevant actors (finance, producers, suppliers, distributers, retailers, web-designers, local authorities, customers, etc.) as quickly as possible. Thus, we’re hoping we can arrange an opportunity to speak with people at their earliest convenience. We can talk on the phone, face-to-face (travel costs permitting), using any online software or any other format that suits anyone.
We’d like to stress unequivocally that anonymity will we be guaranteed throughout. We will not record these discussions and no individual attribution will appear in our final report. Although we might takes the roughest of notes during the interview, these will be only to remind us of points to follow up on to guide us in our ongoing research. This is essentially a fact-finding exercise; certainly not any sort of ‘undercover operation’. There will be no ‘blaming or shaming’: we simply want to get a clearer idea of what processes are in place; what works and what doesn’t. We’re also naturally very interested indeed in others’ thoughts on how future processes could be improved.
So we’d be extremely grateful to anyone who could spare half an hour or so to help us with this research. If you can, and considering the element of urgency in this, could you please get back to us quickly by any of the following means:
Thank you in advance and we look forward to talking to you.
Jess Muirhead & Vic Grout, Department of Computing, Wrexham Glyndŵr University