UK to introduce porn age-checks in July

Porn ID checks

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Online pornography websites in the UK will be required by law to carry out strict age-verification checks on their users from July this year.

The UK will become the first country in the world to introduce age-verification checks to prevent under 18's accessing pornographic content.

From July 15, providers failing to implement the new law will face financial sanctions, running the risk of having their websites blocked.

The age-verification control, backed by 88 per cent of UK parents with children aged seven to 17, aims to prevent children seeing pornography online.

There will be several age-verification options available, from traditional ID such as driving licences and passports, as well as so-called "porn passes" which will  be available from high-street stores and newsagents.

Measures will be implemented to protect users’ data and privacy, but there are concerns of data breaches causing people's adult interests to be exposed.

Minister for Digital, Margot James, told the BBC: “We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to be online, and these new laws will help us achieve this.”

Ms James said new porn age-checks will be secure, despite a data "error" on a press release about the scheme that exposed hundreds of email addresses.

She added: “It is embarrassing, it was an error and we're evaluating at the moment whether that was a breach of data protection law."

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is to be responsible for ensuring compliance with the new laws following an implementation period.

BBFC Chief executive David Austin said consumers will be able to identify an age-verification provider if they carry the BBFC's new green 'AV' symbol.

However, Open Rights Group executive director James Killock said there were "obvious" dangers to introducing age-checks.

Writing on Twitter, he said: “Age verification dangers are obvious, from outing people to ruining careers and even suicide.

Words by Wesley Hudson

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