Your Money Card as an Instrument for Youth Protection

The chip in your money card is now really becoming important! This chip did not really prove to be a success as an “electronic wallet” – as the banks believed. Now, starting January 2007, it will be a necessity for the “really important” things in life. Sex, drugs, and R’n’R? Almost: online sex and cigarettes!

The German Law on the Protection of Youth is something awkward in Europe. Following §184 I StGB, it is forbidden to pass on pornography to minors. Such is unknown in Spain or The Netherlands and notwithstanding, these countries do not essentially consist of sex criminals. In the United States, the situation is even more bizarre. Sex is generally a taboo but blood may freely flow on TV. The nation is not concerned about that as much as “dysfunctional clothing”…


Starting January 1, 2007, cigarette purchasers must “identify” themselves at a cigarette machine – unless the machine is under permanent supervision of an adult. If that is not the case, the purchaser’s age must be controlled; only persons 16 and older are allowed to purchase cigarettes in Germany.


How did this happen? Since 2003, money cards in Germany have been being equipped with a chip, which additionally contains an age detail – banks know how old their customer is. Since smokers usually do not have the right change to feed the automat, it seems a good idea to combine the age detail with the payment function. Money cards not linked to an account will not receive the age detail. The risk of passing on a cash card is too great if no financial risk is involved. This is also the reason why a chip will not work with an expired cash card – even though the owner will hardly have become younger.


The age verification chip has two options: either the owner is of age and the chip will know it or the owner is a minor. Young adults 16 and older may have their encrypted date of birth stored on the chip – after the parents have given their permission. The chip will then compute if this person has the permission to smoke or not.


This function for youth protection is a purely German solution. Chips on money cards are known elsewhere but not with age verification – cigarette machines are nowhere else so widely available as in Germany.

Published on the old CMS: 2007/1/18
Read on the old CMS till November 2008: 1,159 reads