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Porn Sites Will Be Legally Required To Verify Users’ Age

Porn sites in the UK will be legally obliged to confirm whether they are over the age limit of customers under the new laws on internet safety.

The bill that is part of the proposed Online Safety Bill, aims to provide children with better protection from explicit content.

The measures, designed to make sure that users are over 18 will likely see users required to prove that they have an account with a credit card, or prove their age using an external service.

Websites that do not take action could face fines of by up to 10% of worldwide turnover.

The Online Safety Bill is expected to be presented in these next months. It is intended to shield users from damaging online content.

The groups for children’s safety have long been urging verification of age for porn sites, due to concerns that it’s too simple for minors to access material that is publicly accessible on the internet.

Similar measures were also proposed in the past but were dropped in 2019.

Studies have shown 50% of the 11 – to 13-year-olds have been exposed to pornography at the time.

Children’s experts claim that this can cause them to have negative views about sexuality and consent, placing children at risk of being snatched by predators and possibly preventing them from not reporting abuse.

The announcement of the age verification plans The Minister for Digital Economy Chris Philp said: “Parents deserve peace of mind that their children are protected online from seeing things no child should see.”

In addition to being capable of imposing fines on websites that don’t follow the guidelines and regulations, the regulator Ofcom might also prevent websites from being accessible to the UK.

The administrators of these sites can as well be held responsible in the event that they do not cooperate with Ofcom.

In the past there were only sites for commercial porn which allowed content from users were within the coverage of Online Safety Bill, but all commercial porn websites are now included.

Andy Burrows, of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) was pleased with the strength of Online Harms Bill but said the bill didn’t go enough.

“It’s right the government has listened to calls to fix one of the gaps in the Online Safety Bill and protect children from pornography wherever it’s hosted,” said the minister. declared.

“Crucially They have taken action on our complaints and closed the “Only Fans loophole’ which would allow some of the most risky sites free of the burden, despite allowing children to access extremely harmful materials.

“But the legislation still falls short of giving children comprehensive protection from preventable abuse and harmful content and needs significant strengthening to match the government’s rhetoric and focus minds at the very top of tech companies on child safety.”

Proposals for people to prove their age prior to accessing explicit online content were first made in the Digital Economy Act in 2017 However, the government has never enforced them.

They were officially canceled in the year 2019 after which ministers pledged “other measures” would achieve similar results.

The first version of the Online Safety Bill was announced in 2013 campaigners were stunned that it didn’t include the long-promised checks.

Privacy issues

It is up to the companies to determine the best way to adhere to the new regulations, however Ofcom might recommend the use of specific technology for age verification.

But, the government states that companies should not collect or keep data that does not serve the objective of assessing an individual’s age.

Despite the widespread usage of technology to verify age in various areas, such as gambling online There are still concerns it could pose privacy concerns.

A number of campaigners warn that databases of pornographic users could become an ideal cyber-attack victim for blackmailers.

Jim Killock of the Open Rights Group that fights to safeguard freedoms and rights in the digital age The rules, he said, would benefit companies for age verification but provide “little practical benefit for child safety, and much harm to people’s privacy”.

“There is no indication that this proposal will protect people from tracking and profiling porn viewing,” the journalist said to the BBC.

“We have to assume the same basic mistakes about privacy and security may be about to be made again.”

However, Iain Corby, executive director of the Age Verification Providers Association, stated that the companies he represented have created a variety of ways to confirm an individual’s age online, but without divulging who they are to websites that they use.

“By using independent, third-party organisations which are audited and certified to comply with the highest standards of data protection and security, adults can be confident their own privacy will be preserved while their children are protected.”

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