UK porn ban condemned as 'dangerous' and 'irresponsible' amid scam warning

Free pornographic websites will be blocked in the UK from July unless visitors provide ID

Anthony Cuthbertson
Wednesday 17 April 2019 14:22
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UK announces new porn ban coming into effect in July

The UK’s porn ban is “disastrous” for people’s privacy, critics have warned.

A ban on pornographic websites will come into effect on 15 July, meaning any visitor will need to prove they are over 18 through “robust age-verification checks on users”.

These could take the form of entering personal details online, or even buying a pass from local shops.

Reacting to the government’s announcement on age verification for adult content, executive director of Open Rights Group Jim Killock said the government needs to compel companies to enforece privacy standards.

“The idea that they are ‘optional’ is dangerous and irresponsible. Having some age verification that is good and other systems that are bad is unfair and a scammer’s paradise – of the government’s own making,” he said.

He added: “Data leaks could be disastrous. And they will be the government’s own fault. The government needs to shape up and legislate for privacy before their own policy results in people being outed, careers destroyed or suicides being provoked.”

Not all age verification solutions require the gathering of data, some industry experts have claimed, with alternative methods potentially available to prevent such scenarios.

Serge Acker, CEO of age verification platform OCL & Portes, said the UK Government’s plans to introduce the blocks have produced an “arms race” to develop the best technology to be implemented.

“There seems to be a standard, accepted method – a company will take your details, scans of ID and all, and verify your age to your internet provider and will allow you through the gate. But this isn’t the only solution, neither is it the safest for the consumer,” he said.

“Alternative, independent solutions... exist: users can anonymously prove they have the right to access content without having to create a honeypot of hackable data. Internet users have the right to remain anonymous online, while being able to access suitable age-restricted content. This should be the start of a wider conversation about online purchases and whether they should be treated in a similar way.”

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