Porn sites serving United Kingdom to need age verification process

Websites hosting pornographic material will be forced to prove that users are aged 18 or over or face sanctions

Websites hosting pornographic material will be forced to prove that users are aged 18 or over or face sanctionsYUI MOK PA

Anyone wishing to view porn in the United Kingdom from 2018 onwards will have to verify with websites that they are over 18 years of age before they're allowed to access the content.

Digital Minister Matt Hancock said: "We are taking the next step to put in place the legal requirement for websites with adult content".

By April 2018, websites that make pornographic content available to United Kingdom users for commercial purposes-even if they are not based in the United Kingdom -will be legally required to install age verification controls, the BBC reported.

Under the yet-to-be-implemented measures, free and fee-based porn operators-many of which are based abroad-will be required to insert age checkers on their sites in the United Kingdom, forcing users to dish up their credit card details to prove that they are 18 or over before being granted access to smut.

If a website fails to install age-verifying measures, they "face being banned in the UK", The Independent says.

"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". But the charity said that the new measures did not go far enough and there was a need for additional protection for under-18s on social media.

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The NSPCC, the nation's leading charity against child abuse, found that 65 percent of 15 to 16-year-olds had watched porn, as well as 48 percent of 11 to 16-year-olds. It will be the regulator's responsibility to oblige porn sites to maintain age-restriction barriers, with a likely punishment for incompliance being the threat of blocked access from internet service providers (ISPs).

"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".

"The Government has repeatedly refused to ensure that there is a legal duty for age verification providers to protect the privacy of web users".

"Age verification could lead to porn companies building databases of the UK's porn habits, which could be vulnerable to Ashley Madison style hacks", argued Open Rights Group director Jim Killock. We are concerned that the porn company MindGeek will become the Facebook of age verification, dominating the United Kingdom market.

A 2016 study found that 28 percent of British children had found online pornography accidentally, while 19 percent had hunted it out deliberately. "They would then decide what privacy risks or profiling take place for the vast majority of United Kingdom citizens".

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