The UK government is planning to introduce an age-check system to prevent people under the age of 18 from accessing porn. This new system will be introduced on the 15thof July.
This new system will automatically verify the age of people visiting porn sites and block those that fail to comply with the system. Critics fear that innovative teens will easily bypass the system by illegally streaming the graphic content. Children will still be able to access porn through sites such as Twitter, Reddit and Imgur as those companies won’t be forced to implement the system. Additionally companies that show porn for non-commercial use will escape any regulation.
Authorities still hope that this new policy will reduce the amount of young children accidentally stumbling across inappropriate content online. According to the Minister for Digital, Margot James, this system is a “world-first.” The government hopes that this new policy will encourage porn sites to introduce new measures to further protect children from concerning content.
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) will be in charge of the new system. The BBFC will advise internet providers which websites and apps need to be regulated. The BBFC plans to reward companies that implement a vigorous age-checking system with a green AV symbol.
A digital rights campaign group have raised concerns arguing that a voluntary system will not be as effective as a compulsory system.
Despite concerns some pornography websites have already introduced new measures to better regulate their consumers. Mindgeek owns an age verification portal called AgeID, which works with third-party verifiers, such as YOTI, to verify users’ ages. Customers upload scans of their passports or driving licence via the YOTI app in order to access the content; this system is encrypted to protect their customers.
The NSPCC has stated that they aim to “make sure that when these new rules are implemented” and “are as effective as possible” in order to best protect children. The NSPCC knows that it is essential that the “rules keep pace with the different ways that children are exposed to porn online.” These age checks are part of a wider effort to shield children from graphic content online.
Many still fear that this checks massively increase the risk of data breaches. A data breach of this kind may be very embarrassing and very damaging to many public figures.