Monday, 19 November, 2018

UK Plans Age Verification For Porn Websites From 2018

Enlarge  Caution X-rated pic. Prove you're 18 before clicking on this story. Dammit... too late!Getty Images  John Greim  LightRocket Enlarge Caution X-rated pic. Prove you're 18 before clicking on this story. Dammit... too late!Getty Images John Greim LightRocket
Doris Mccormick | 18 July, 2017, 05:41

In a bid to protect children, internet users in the United Kingdom will soon be forced to prove they are at least 18 years old before being allowed access to pornographic websites.

Privacy campaigners have criticised the government's plans to make porn sites enforce user age verification, saying it could result in "Ashley Madison-style hacks".

Digital minister Matt Hancock said in a written statement to the Commons: "All this means that while we can enjoy the freedom of the web, the United Kingdom will have the most robust internet child protection measures of any country in the world".

Pornography websites serving the United Kingdom could soon be forced to prove that users are of an adult age under new laws announced by the British Government.

For example, those surfing for porn may be required to provide credit card details to verify their age as credit cards can't be legally issued to minors.

And those with the software will have to check visitors' credit card details so as to confirm their ages.

Despite the fact that new powers will be hard to implement effectively-given that so many sites are overseas which can be accessed by porn fans using, say, VPN workarounds-Hancock is convinced that "the United Kingdom will have the most robust Internet child protection measures of any country in the world".

Mr Hancock will formally begin the process with a written statement to the House of Commons on Monday.

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Dr Julia Fossi, a senior analyst at the charity's child safety online team, said back in 2015: "We all understand the importance of keeping children safe in the offline world".

'All this means that while we can enjoy the freedom of the web, the United Kingdom will have the most robust internet child protection measures of any country in the world'.

The executive said protecting children from exposure - including accidental exposure - to adult content is incredibly important given the effect it can have on young people.

"It is essential to help parents and carers, as well as young people, be more aware of this risk and what they can do to prevent exposure and also to make sense of exposure if it happens".

Online pornography has been seen by 65% of 15-16 year olds and 48% of 11-16 year olds, according to an NSPCC report in 2016.

But the Open Rights Group warned that age verification could allow porn companies being able to build up databases of United Kingdom users' porn habits, leaving them vulnerable to exposure by hackers.

The Mail on Sunday and The Times both reported that the plans, which have been in the works since previous year, will be formally announced today as part of the Digital Economy Act. The idea is to restrict anyone who is not over the legal age from viewing adult content online.

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