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Porn block age verification could change the Internet as we know it

By Chris Dawson June 5, 2019 - 9:00 am

In case you weren’t aware, from the 15th of July 2019, there’s going to be a Porn Block for adult sites which means you’ll need age verification before you can access porn site’s content. under the Digital Economy Act, this is the government’s method of trying to stop under 18s from being corrupted. It’s not going to work.

Under 18’s are perhaps some of the most savvy internet users on the web and they’re much more likely to see porn on Snapchat, Whatsapp and similar platforms than they are by visiting a porn site… and the types of content shared on the net is generally way more unsavoury than that on a porno site. The new age verification and porn block will do nothing to stop this type of content sharing.

Sites like twitter where porn is rampant, but less than a third of their total content, won’t have to implement porn blocks. Neither will small amateur sites so long as they don’t make money – i.e. no adverts at all.

And of course there are good old VPNs where you can appear to be in a different location (in this instance a different country) which will totally bypass any porn block restrictions and age verification requirements sites put in place for the UK.

BBFC Age Verification Certification

To bypass porn blocks, the British Board of Film Classification has been awarded the job of sorting out Age Verification Certification. As you’d expect, in a truly British way they aren’t ready and are currently age verification providers to contact them to be verified and don’t list a single approved verification partner on their site.

Other Age Verification Alternatives

The BBFC’s lack of approved age verification partner leaves porn lovers two options – sign up to a dodgy age verification provider or buy age verification in their local corner shop, both of which have problems…

…For instance AgeID looks like a wonderful age verification service run by an reputable looking company called MindGeek. They offer to let you anonymously verify your age and give you anonymous credentials to verify your age on porn sites. MindGeek is not providing an age-verification solution – AgeID is simply a single-sign on portal which provides users access to a selection of independent third party age verification sites. AgeID, by design, is not a tempting database for hackers because it does not see, let alone store, any age verification data. They don’t want to know the identity of users, just whether they are of legal age to view the content.

A simpler solution might be to pop into your local corner shop where they’re likely to take a prosaic view, decide you look over 18 and sell you an anonymous ID no questions asked. Portes is one such service.

Further reaching impact of Age Verification

What we could be looking at here is a back door to wider age verification across the internet. Once a (by all accounts fairly large) sector of the population have verified their age, why would the BBFC not start using it to restrict access streaming to adult films, but which I don’t mean porn films but merely those which are shown with an 18 Certificate at the cinema? What about online sales of items such as alcohol, knives, solvents and other age restricted products – wouldn’t it make sense to innocently verify your age before being allowed to complete an online purchase?

Potentially in the future, even social media sites could require robust proof of age before allowing you to open an account which could push age verification down to 13 year olds or require them to get permission from an already age verified 18 year old before they can open an account.

Porn has always been a major disruptor of the Internet – we wouldn’t have had services such as Amazon Prime Video and Netflix quite so early on if porn sites hadn’t broken the ground with streaming media. Now the next frontier could be the requirement to prove your age before accessing general content online.

There’s long been talk of the UK having identity cards. Porn block age verification is quite conceivably the way the UK will get virtual identity cards and on July the 15th when suddenly millions find their favourite porn site blocked expect to see queues in the local shops shiftily looking at their feet as they purchase a porn pass. Don’t worry though, one day soon when you want to purchase an age restricted product it could be you.

  • Simon E
    3 months ago

    You seem to be well versed in this area Chris ?? B-)
    Did you do a lot research!

  • 3 months ago

    Another case of the Gov doing nothing worth doing and about as good as all those cookie notices we have to put up with. We already have internet companies restricting adult content

    Twitter is full of graphic porn, so children are allowed to see it as long as they do not see too much? They can also view it on sites as long as the owner of that site is not profiting from them viewing it.

    How can the above be right?

    How effective will it be? It will stop children seeing things by accident, unless they are on Twitter or visiting a site that is not for profit, but those with intent to view will soon get round it.

    The things you find when you are hunting for Christmas presents, I used to enjoy reading the latest car feature in my dads copy of Mayfair….

  • computer man
    3 months ago

    there exists VPN even 10yr0l’s use e’m. wif em u can set ur region to somewhr else

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