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Porn Sites to Conduct Compulsory ID Checks in UK By April 2018

It's going to be a lot more difficult to watch porn in the UK.

Paul Tamburroby Paul Tamburro

Porn sites will be forced to conduct compulsory ID checks in the UK by April 2018, according to newly announced measures that could see users being forced to hand over their credit card details.

Digital minister Matt Hancock signed the order for the new requirement, which has given porn sites nine months to ensure that their UK users are over 18 before browsing their content. The legislation, which can be viewed here, requires sites that host pornographic material on a “commercial basis” to begin employing ID checks in order to verify the age of their users, with ISPs forced to prevent access to any site that refuses to do so.

The use of credit cards is currently employed by gambling sites in order to verify the age of users, but enforcing such a rule brings with it multiple risks. For starters, handing over such personal information could lead to a site storing that user data in a database, with it then being vulnerable to cyber attacks. The government is set to bring a regulator in to check that sites are following its guidelines, with it believed that the¬†British Board of Film Classification — which also rates films and video games in the UK — will be made responsible.

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Discussing the new regulations, Hancock said: “We are taking the next step to put in place the legal requirement for websites with adult content to ensure it is safely behind an age-verification control.

“All this means that while we can enjoy the freedom of the web, the UK will have the most robust internet child protection measures of any country in the world.”

Critics have bemoaned the government’s draconian methods, saying that while this will make it more difficult for under-18s to stumble upon porn, it will also make porn sites a prime target for hackers and place their users at great risk. The new rules will apply to both paid and free porn sites both domestic and foreign, meaning that sites from Pornhub through to Brazzers are set to be affected. The legislation also deems that the regulator can assess whether or not particular sites are exempt from the ruling.

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