Safeguarding the children from beer

The rigorous age-verification system Anheuser-Busch initiated for those who want to visit the new Bud.TV isn’t restrictive enough for some.

Twenty-three attorneys general have written to Anheuser-Busch Cos., asking the brewer for better tools to make sure underaged viewers aren’t accessing its new Bud.TV site.

An A-B spokeswoman pointed out that many site users (or would-be users) disagree.

The St. Louis-based brewer, in a statement Friday, called itself the first in its industry to adopt independent age verification for the company’s Web sites. It said it has even faced some criticism that the age checks were too cumbersome and turning away some adults.

“Despite these extraordinary efforts, some have urged us to make the age verification process more difficult and even more invasive of people’s privacy,” said a company spokeswoman, Francine Katz, in a statement.

In fact, Louisiana’s Attorney General Charles Foti – one of those behind the letter – said he didn’t have any evidence that underage children are accessing the web site, but said it’s clear that more could be done to safeguard children.

Sure, the site does feature adult content – it’s a “channel,” but on your computer instead of the TV. But the tools for a parent to block their children from visiting Internet channels are at least is easy to implement as those block TV channels.

Are these government officials taking this stance because Anheuser-Busch is a target they can easily identify (as opposed to a gazillion pornographic websites that have no similar mechanisms)? Or could it be because beer is involved?

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