UK government proposes age verification on all porn sites

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The British government is pushing ahead with plans to try and force pornographic websites to verify the age of users.

The proposals follow a pledge first outlined in the Conservative party manifesto which said “all sites containing pornographic material” must check that the user is over 18.

The government says the measure is required to make it more difficult for children to be exposed to porn online and says the age verification is just as necessary online as it is in the physical world.

The government will ask Internet providers, academics, charities and other key figures to take part in a planned public consultation that will take place in April 2016.

The proposals are that online pornographic content should be formally classified and would receive an 18R rating from the British Board of Film Classification.

However, questions have been raised as to how any such rules on age restrictions could be properly enforced.

One suggestion is that the government could force the companies which run the sites to make sure each user can only access content if they sign up to the site with a valid credit card, ensuring they are at least 18 years of age – a similar policy is already in place with online gambling sites.

Companies that fail to verify the age of users could be punished by having advertising blocked on their site or being made inaccessible to users in the UK.

James Blessing, chair of UK ISP industry body the Internet Services Providers’ Association, said: “ISPA agrees with the proposed ‘follow the money’ approach targeting those profiting from websites offering adult content without offering suitable age verification procedures.”

However, others have been critical of the proposals, claiming the will result in a crackdown of what people can access online and will also greatly impact on the freedoms of Internet users in the UK.

Source: The Guardian

 

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