You’ll have to verify your age to watch porn online from July

Wednesday, 17th April 2019, 14:18 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th April 2019, 14:18 pm
The government says that the move is backed by 88 per cent of UK parents with children aged between seven and 17 (Photo: Shutterstock)

The UK will become the first country in the world to bring in age verification for all online pornography when the controversial measures come into force on 15 July.

From that date, commercial providers of online pornography will be required by law to carry out robust age verification checks on users, to ensure that they are 18 or over.

What information will you need to give?

These can include the use of passports, driving licenses or credit cards to verify the age of the viewer. Websites that fail to implement age-verification technology face having payment services withdrawn or being blocked for UK users.

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Minister for Digital Margot James said, “Adult content is currently far too easy for children to access online.

“The introduction of mandatory age-verification is a world-first, and we’ve taken the time to balance privacy concerns with the need to protect children from inappropriate content.”

Making the UK safer for children online

“We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to be online, and these new laws will help us achieve this,” James continued.

Will Gardner, CEO of Childnet added, “We hope that the introduction of this age-verification will help in protecting children, making it harder for young people to accidentally come across online pornography, as well as bringing in the same protections that we use offline to protect children from age-restricted goods or services.”

The government says that the move is backed by 88 per cent of UK parents with children aged between seven and 17, but it has drawn criticism over privacy concerns.

Campaigners have criticised the law’s effectiveness, as large social media sites have already been made exempt from the ban over fears that those such as Twitter and Reddit would be blocked for adult content.

What are the privacy concerns

Others have warned of the danger of there being a database of porn users which could pose a privacy risk were it ever leaked.

Jim Killock Executive Director of Open Rights Group said, “The government needs to compel companies to enforce privacy standards. The idea that they are ‘optional’ is dangerous and irresponsible.

“Having some age verification that is good and other systems that are bad is unfair and a scammer’s paradise – of the government’s own making.

“Data leaks could be disastrous. And they will be the government’s own fault.

“The government needs to shape up and legislate for privacy before their own policy results in people being outed, careers destroyed or suicides being provoked.”

New symbol will indicate compliance

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) will be responsible for ensuring compliance with the new laws.

Consumers will be able to identify that an age verification provider has met rigorous security and data checks if they carry the BBFC's new green 'AV' symbol.

This article originally appeared on our sister site, The Scotsman