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UK Will Soon Require Residents To Provide Passport Or Credit Card Details For Age Verification Before They Can Access Online Porn

Repeatedly delayed age-verification laws aimed at preventing under-18s from viewing online pornography will come into force in the UK in July, the government has announced.

From July 15, commercial porn sites will be legally required to carry out “robust age-verification checks” on their users, to prevent minors from viewing their content.

To access online porn, adults may have to submit ID documents like credit cards or passports to online age-verification providers or buy a so-called porn pass in person in a shop.

Digital minister Margot James said in a statement: “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.”

“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 said.

The age-verification measures were first introduced in 2016, as part of the Digital Economy Act 2017, and were initially expected to come into force in April 2018 before they were beset by multiple delays.

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), which assigns national age ratings to films, video recordings and online content, will enforce the new laws. Websites that fail to comply may be blocked in the UK or have their payment services withdrawn.

In a press release, the government said it had “listened carefully to privacy concerns” and would ensure that “age-verification arrangements should only be concerned with verifying age, not identity.”

Providers of age-verification services must comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), while the BBFC has also established a voluntary certification scheme, the Age-Verification Certificate which will be awarded to age-verification providers with “robust data protection conditions.”

According to a poll carried out by YouGov on behalf of the BBFC, 88% of parents with children between seven and 17 support the implementation of age-verification measures.

However, another poll carried out by YouGov in March when the measures were expected to come into force by April indicated that 76% of Britons were unaware of the new laws. And while 67% of the respondents said they approved of the new measures, only 34% said they expected them to be successful in preventing under-18s from accessing porn.

Some online-privacy activists have condemned the new laws. Jim Killock, executive director of campaign organization Open Rights Group, told CNN that some people “will fall victim to scams and worse.”

“If data leaks and is used for blackmail or ends up damaging people’s lives, then it will be the government to blame,” said Killock.

source: CNN

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