Anne of Green Gables is widely regarded as a Canadian cultural icon. The wholesome image of the redheaded Anne with a straw hat and pigtails is synonymous with Prince Edward Island, the location of the book written over 100 years ago by L.M. Montgomery. The province jointly owns the Anne of Green Gables trademark with the heirs of L.M. Montgomery and have even established the “Anne Authority” to ensure that Anne’s image is properly protected.

According to a recent news report, a new Canadian children’s website, www.annesdiary.com, has come under wrath for using the unauthorised image of Anne to provide a social networking site for girls between the ages of 6 – 14. The website features an avatar in the likeness of Anne, claiming to be inspired by the much loved Anne of Green Gables novels. A spokesman for the website said that the trademark holders were approached but declined to give their permission to use the Anne image. Prince Edward Island Development Minister said that it takes violations of the trademark very seriously and would pursue the matter vigorously.

Despite the controversy, many parents will welcome the new website because it claims to be one of the most secure websites for children in the world. The site takes the protection of web content for children very seriously and is secured by the use of a biometric fingerprint sensor. According to the website, once a child has enrolled on the site, only they can access their online secure bedroom and diary. Members receive a fingerprint reader using a one-time authentication code thereby registering their identity on the secure database. The fingerprint matrix itself is encrypted and transmitted securely across the Web to authenticate users. Even if someone gets a hold of the fingerprint matrix, it will be undecipherable and unusable to them.

Parents may also use the secure option to register their child on the site by providing details of a Sponsor who is able to verify the age and identity of the child. In order to be eligible, a Sponsor must be known to the child, be a resident of the country in which the registrant lives, and be a recognised professional from the website’s list. Parents must provide an e-mail mailing address and telephone number where a sponsor can be contacted for verification. ¬†Sponsors are e-mailed a one-time Authentication Code which they must use to activate the child’s Anne’s Diary account. This code is used when the child first registers her fingerprint to initialize her account.

A spokesperson for the website said they would wait to hear from the Anne Authority before deciding on the next step.

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