Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

Ok, this looks pretty hilarious. Somehow these two goofballs (ok, they’re actually intense actors but they usually play goofballs) have managed to take some of the most contentious issues of today–Guantanamo bay, racial profiling, racism, police and governmental bias, airport security, citizen’s rights, and include them in a real way in a movie about two college students going to Amsterdam to get high.
However the only pickle in the pudding came when I tried to view an alternate trailer–because the first one was hilarious and I wanted more free funnies. When I clicked on it I got the following message:

You little pervert, are you over 17?

The MPAA has concluded that this film contains some adult content (theme, language, violence, nudity, sex and drug use are among the contents considered). In order to show you these materials, we must verify that you are aged 17 years or older.

To ensure verification, please provide information as it is listed on your current Driver’s License or State-issued ID.

First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
Zip Code:

By clicking the “submit” button, I agree that I am at least 17 years of age, I authorize you to confirm my age by checking the accuracy of the information I have submitted against the government-issued identification, and I agree to the Terms of Use government this website.

To the information
First: “Heck”
Last: “No”
DOB: “121280”
Zipcode: “94303”

I received the message “Sorry, we can not verify your age/identity at this time…”

Now, back when Congress was trying to legislate morality with the Children’s Defense Act, the Children’s Internet Protection Act and the Child Online Protection Act. From Reno v ACLU (1997) we get this quote:

“Commercial pornographic sites that charge their users for access have assigned them passwords as a method of age verification. The record does not contain any evidence concerning the reliability of these technologies. Even if passwords are effective for commercial purveyors of indecent material, the District Court found that an adult password requirement would impose significant burdens on noncommercial sites, both because they would discourage users from accessing their sites and because the cost of creating and [*857] maintaining such screening systems would be “beyond their reach.” (Page 15)

So the Supreme Court of the United States has already said age verification is not a viable form of CYA for purveyors of censored material. I believe this technology may still “impose significant burdens on noncommercial sites” but Harold and Kumar has money to spend. I believe because this is censorship imposed by the MPAA, it is unamerican but not illegal. However the greater issue for met is the statement “I authorize you to confirm my age by checking the accuracy of the information I have submitted against the government-issued identification” because that means a third party, for-profit business with no legal mandate can verify my personally identifying information, but only if that information corresponds to a US-issued ID.

My information is verified by Integrity Services who say they get their information:

“Using publicly available data that is digitized, indexed, formatted, and enhanced with other commercial data sources, Integrity uses the Aristotle COSMOS™ global database to power its age and id verification solutions. We provide full coverage for the United States and coverage for 157 nations abroad.” (FAQ: What are your data sources?)

There is a database with the first, last, birthday and current zipcode availible which is easily accessible to some random company? Because here’s the thing: I live a lot of places. My name has changed in the past few years. How often is this information updated? What right have they to keep my information? Maybe this is all naive, but I am so not ok having people like this knowing where I am, when I was born etc–talk about identity theft.

So let’s review.

  1. Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay looks hilarious and politically stimulating.
  2. Someone on their publicity team has decided to let the MPAA determine who visits parts of their sites.
  3. The MPAA is forcing the implementation of a technology specifically mentioned by the Supreme Court as unreasonably restrictive (though since the case is over a decade old, maybe they figure the spirit is as outdated as the technology mentioned–bad news for the US legal system).
  4. A for-profit company has a database of the personal identifying information of all US citizens and citizens of 157 other countries in a database so that our age can be verified so we can watch a movie with cussing and nudity.


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“Nothing will work unless you do.” – Maya Angelou

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