Tuesday, December 11The Voice of London

Porn…To block or not to block? That is the question.

Pornography or porn as it’s more affectionately known is a love-hate relationship shared by most. In April 2018, a law was passed under the Digital Economy Act 2017, where age verification was to be made mandatory to those wanting to watch porn online.

Image Credit: Victoria Locke

However, with pornographic websites failure to abide by new rules the plans have been pushed back to “spring next year” says minister for digital and creative industries, Margot James MP, from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)

The UK government has been trying to restrict access to porn since 2015. Under the Digital Economy Act 2017, all commercial porn providers must have age verification tools installed on their websites meaning every pornographic website user must provide ID showing they are over 18. Although no money will be taken from the account in question, it means that the sites will have access to personal and potentially sensitive information. Porn is famously an industry where people remain anonymous so needing to verify their age through identification would potentially cause problems for porn consumers.

MP’s are keen to get the legislation underway with says Margot James MP telling The Independent: It has taken longer than I would have liked, but I’d balance that with a confidence that we’ve got it right.”

In compliance to the impending legislation, MindGeek, a company owning many well-known porn websites such as PornHub, RedTube and YouPorn, announced back in March their launch of AgeID, an online age verification tool. AgeID is slowly being implemented across MindGeek’s own porn websites, it acts as a nightclub bouncer where the user must provide a scanned document to verify their age in this one-off process. This is to be regulated by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).

James Clark, a spokesperson for AgeID said to the BBC, “We have created a tool to comply with the impending UK legislation, which both protects children from stumbling across adult content and enables those of legal age to securely and privately access adult websites through a one-time verification process,”

Many members of the public welcome this as a new way of safeguarding those younger unwanted audiences from access the adult restricted content, however, some believe it could be another Facebook fiasco and used as a way to breach internet user’s privacy.

“It’s stupid because it won’t stop people from accessing it, it’ll just be another thing added to the dark web where I don’t have to put in my credit card details that could possibly get stolen,” Someone who wishes to stay anonymous, to The Voice of London.

“This porn block and age verification is totally illiberal, if I want to watch porn then I will watch it without wondering if my personal information will be leaked” commented a Voice of London twitter follower.

Words: Victoria Locke | Subbing: Ruby Naldrett

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