Measures to force pornography sites to check the age of UK viewers have been unveiled, signaling the next step in a government crackdown on adult online content. The ID checks are due to be part of the Digital Economy Actwhich encompasses the introduction of age-verification rules for sites that provide porn "on a commercial basis" to UK viewersas well as the introduction of a regulator to check sites are complying with the new rules. Also waiting to be finalised are details of how enforcement would work.
Britons may soon face identity checks to access adult material on the internet, according to discussions between Whitehall and the private sector. It is a key Conservative pledge and has widespread support. But critics say the plans are a privacy nightmare. Some warn they are a step towards Chinese-style internet restrictions.
Inthe UK government passed the Digital Economy Act, a law which will require websites with adult content to verify that their users are 18 or older before allowing access. For example, a simple Google or Twitter search can turn up lots of adult content. Second, because the age check systems will require UK residents to use their government-issued ID to gain access, the systems will basically create a national database of adult content viewers, a database which could conceivably be hacked, publicly shared or used to aid identity theft.
Adult passengers 18 and over must show valid identification at the airport checkpoint in order to travel. In coordination with its DHS counterparts, TSA has identified acceptable alternate identification for use in special circumstances at the checkpoint. A weapon permit is not an acceptable form of identification.
Concern is growing about the introduction of new UK porn blocks that will force people to show identification in order watch adult videos. The government has repeatedly committed to introducing new rules that will force anyone who attempts to look at pornographic content to prove they are adults. That proof will largely mean showing identification documents to some sort of verification service.
The new start date for the controversial "porn block" follows a series of delays that pushed the roll-out back from its original April kick-off. It's part of the Digital Economy Actand is ostensibly aimed at preventing children from accidentally finding extreme porn online. Speaking to The Sun, a DCMS spokesperson said: "This is a world-leading step forward to protect our children from adult content which is currently far too easy to access online. The Sun understands that adult websites will be given a grace period of three months to begin enforcing the new rules.
The rollout of age checks on legal adult sites had already been postponed from April last year. The policy would have required all adult internet users seeking to watch legal porn online to prove they are over 18 by providing identification. Although the measure could affect an estimated 35 million people, surveys have repeatedly shown the vast majority of the British public are unaware of the possible changes.