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ASACP Helps Merchants Comply With Evolving Credit Card Standards

LOS ANGELES (August 4, 2021) — ASACP, the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection, is reaching out to help adult merchants comply with the newest set of evolving credit card rules and standards.

According to ASACP Executive Director Tim Henning, commercial apps and websites rely on credit card and other transaction processors to turn their customers into cash — and thus must comply with an ever-changing set of corporate regulations and laws.

“ASACP is on the frontline of all things related to online child protection, including the evolving edicts from card associations such as Mastercard and Visa, which can dramatically affect online content producers and publishers and their bottom line,” Henning said. “By sponsoring ASACP and making use of its services, merchants can show a good-faith effort to operate safely and responsibly, which is something that the payment processing industry and other stakeholders take seriously.”

Earlier this year, Mastercard signaled its intentions to clamp down on questionable content with the release of its “New Specialty Merchant Registration Requirements for Adult Content Merchants” (AN 5196) that seek to prevent the posting of, and aid in the removal of, any anonymously sourced material.

“Every day, our teams use a combination of technology and best practices to monitor and protect our network and all who interact with it,” Mastercard SVP John Verdeschi stated. “For all the investments we have made, there’s still more work to be done.”

Verdeschi explained that Mastercard does not and will not permit merchants to engage in unlawful activity on its network and is now taking an even more active stance against unauthorized and illegal adult content by ensuring that there are strong content control measures on sites where Mastercard is accepted.

The move is spurred by advancements in technology that allow users to more easily upload content to the internet, with the new requirements intended to address the risks associated with this activity.

“The banks that connect merchants to our network will need to certify that the seller of adult content has effective controls in place to monitor, block, and, where necessary, take down all illegal content,” Verdeschi explained. “[This] starts with strong content control measures and clear, unambiguous and documented consent.”

Among the updated requirements, merchants must now document the age and verify the identity of all people depicted in and/or uploading or streaming adult content; perform a pre-publication review of that content; and formalize a resolution process with a limit of seven business days for addressing complaints, as well as developing an appeals process that allows any person depicted in uploaded content to request that the content be removed.

“These additional requirements build on years of work from our teams, creating the processes, establishing industry standards, and setting today’s foundation in place,” Verdeschi concluded. “The evolution of our registration programs is critical to ensure that we — as well as those who connect merchants to our network — understand who we are doing business with and what can be expected of their activities.”

As part of this initiative, Mastercard and other stakeholders are also expanding their relationships with law enforcement and international child protection organizations.

“We’re committed to doing everything in our power to ensure only lawful activity takes place on our network,” Verdeschi concluded. “In the process, we also hope to improve content controls to benefit people with the greatest need for these protections.”

For his part, Henning applauds efforts to keep minors out of and away from adult-oriented materials and underscores the value of the association as a resource for its sponsors, providing child protection tools and techniques for all merchants.

“By becoming an ASACP sponsor or member and making use of our services, merchants can help ensure that their relationship with Mastercard and other card associations — as well as the ability to process adult transactions via these services — is protected,” Henning said. “It is another example of how ‘doing the right thing’ and supporting ASACP makes good business sense.”

ASACP welcomes all sites into its family of sponsors, as long as the content they provide and the way it is presented is legal.

“Mastercard’s move will likely be echoed by other card associations and the processors they work with, adding new restrictions on adult content and marketing,” Henning concluded. “ASACP’s 25 years of expertise in this arena makes an enormous difference in preserving both the innocence of youth and the profitability of business — but this success is only possible through the continued support of our sponsors.”

Mastercard’s new standards are set to go into effect on October 15.

To learn more about how your company can protect itself by protecting children, email [email protected].

About ASACP

Founded in 1996, ASACP is a nonprofit organization dedicated to online child protection. ASACP is comprised of two separate entities, the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection and the ASACP Foundation. ASACP is a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization that manages a membership program that provides resources to companies to help them protect minors online, while the ASACP Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The ASACP Foundation continues to battle online child exploitation through its CP Reporting Tipline, which has processed more than 1 million reports to date and also helps parents prevent children from viewing age-restricted material online through its RTA (Restricted To Adults) website label (www.rtalabel.org).

ASACP has invested 25 years in developing progressive programs to protect minors, and its relationship in assisting the digital media industry’s child protection efforts is unparalleled. For more information, visit ASACP.org.

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