Porn will be age-blocked across the UK on July 15
The UK government announced Wednesday that its controversial porn age-verification laws will come into force on July 15.
The so-called "porn block" laws will require commercial providers of online pornography, such as PornHub's parent company MindGeek, to verify that users are over the age of 18. Failure to do so could result in a site being blocked to UK users.
The laws have been ready to go for more than a year, with the government originally intending to introduce in April last year. It has spent the past 12 months talking to relevant industry stakeholders.
In a statement, Britain's minister for digital Margot James said: "Adult content is currently far too easy for children to access online. The introduction of mandatory age-verification is a world-first, and we've taken the time to balance privacy concerns with the need to protect children from inappropriate content. We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to be online, and these new laws will help us achieve this."The regulation has been backed by Britain's largest children's charity the NSPCC, but has also sharply criticised for being poorly-thought-out and potentially damaging to privacy and freedom of speech.
"It would appear the government thought this was a cost-neutral freebie that they could get away with very easily without realising the potential impact it would have on privacy and data security," said Myles Jackman, a UK obscenity lawyer.
The government itself won't be implementing any age verification tech, instead, a technical solution to ban under-18s from accessing porn has been proposed by a firm called MindGeek.MindGeek is an umbrella company which owns PornHub, YouPorn, and RedTube. It has said it is setting up a company called AgeID, which will provide a system for verifying that users are in fact over 18.AgeID gave Business Insider a few details about how its system will work. A spokesman said that once a user has created an AgeID account, they will have various options for verifying their age via a third-party provider. Options include verifying their age via SMS, credit card, passport, or driving licence.
An alternative is colloquially known as the "porn pass," and will be implemented by a company called Portes, which partnered with AgeID.
People will be able go down to a convenience store and buy a "PortesCard." Whoever's behind the till will be able to carry out "anonymous face-to-face age verification," i.e. looking at the person's physical ID. The cards will cost £4.99 (roughly $6.50) for use on a single device, or £8.99 (roughly $11.80) for use across multiple devices. Once they've bought the card, a user gets a unique "validation code" which they then have to activate via bespoke app within 24 hours of purchasing the card. Once they've been verified on the app, they get access to sites using AgeID.
Open Rights Group (ORG) Executive Director Jim Killock told Business Insider that the government's decision to let the industry deal with age verification is "downright irresponsible" when it comes to protecting citizens' privacy, because their data and therefore their porn habits could be vulnerable to a breach.
TL;DR The UK's useless government is banning online porn unless sites can 100% verify your age. To do that, either BUY a porn pass in a shop or give them your drivers licence and have big brother know what your kinks are...