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Age Control for British Porn Viewers is Back on the Table

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There is a bill on the table in the United Kingdom for porn sites that requires age verification. Such a plan has already been drawn up a few times, but now the government makes a new attempt.

 

This is the so-called Online Safety Bill that every user in the UK must check to ensure that they are 18 years of age or older to visit porn sites. Erotic companies that do not carry out an age check risk up to ten percent of their worldwide turnover as a fine. In comparison: for GDPR violations, that is up to four percent. The top people of porn companies can also be criminally prosecuted.

The bill aims to prevent children and young people from being exposed to erotic material just like that. The age verification can be done via a credit card or a third party.

The United Kingdom has made several such attempts over the past ten years, but the plans never peaked. Initially, there were plans in 2016 to censor ‘abnormal’ internet porn in its entirety, with BDSM or ejaculating women too extreme for the British regulator. That plan never materialized.

Later that year, the legislature switched positions and went to an age check, although at the time, they had no idea how to apply that in practice. This time the law was passed but not implemented. In 2019, that age control was again removed.

After years of foreshadowing, there are now new plans that are probably better worked out. For example, the British regulator Ofcom can also choose to block some sites within the UK.

The law is mainly requested by organizations that are involved in child safety. Andy Burrows of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) tells the BBC he is happy with the rules but says there are still too many loopholes.

That will probably always be the case. As far back as 2016, Data News noted that it is admittedly easy to oblige the well-known porn sites. But there are also countless grey areas such as blogs or platforms such as Reddit or Twitter, where it is mainly not about porn, but where many erotic images can be found. At the same time, it cannot be ruled out that young people may borrow a parent’s credit card at an unguarded moment to carry out this check.

Critics of the proposal say that the proposal does not guarantee that users who go through the age verification will not give up their privacy to the site or the third party. After all, that makes it very interesting for them to let go of advertisements, knowing that they are adults who are looking for sexual entertainment.

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