08:54 GMT +322 March 2019
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    Age Checks for UK Porn Viewers Branded 'Censorship Via a Back Door'

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    Provisions of the Digital Economy Act 2017, which were initially expected to be enforced in 2018 but were delayed, will soon come into force - causing distress among proponents of self-regulation and protection of privacy.

    Age-verification for users trying to access content on pornographic websites is expected to be rolled out in April.

    The new rules will require websites hosting pornography to stop individuals under the age of 18 from accessing images, videos and other content. Users, searching for porn online, are meant to land on a page that doesn't show any explicit imagery. After they prove they are over 18, a user can then access the website.

    Introduction of age checks have caused privacy related concerns among users. A petition against adding the "age verification and censoring on porn sites," has been submitted on the UK parliament website.

    "We believe this is censorship via a back door. We believe this will mean the UK will block many sites (just like China does)," its authors argued.

    It is up to each website to choose an age-verification system of their choice. Their progress and compliance is meant be checked by UK's film regulator, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).

    "A person contravenes this subsection if the person makes pornographic material available on the internet to persons in the United Kingdom on a commercial basis other than in a way that secures that, at any given time, the material is not normally accessible by persons under the age of 18," the Digital Economy Act states.

    Among the systems that could be used to enforce the regulation are AgeID (made by MindGeek, the company behind Pornhub, RedTube and YouPorn), AgeChecked (based in London), a private blockchain AgePass and Yoti, whose tech is used in nightclubs and supermarkets. 

    Related:

    Porn Sites to Begin Requiring Proof of Age of UK Viewers Next Month
    Muslim-Majority Bangladesh Blocks 20,000 Websites Under Anti-Porn Campaign
    Tags:
    age, pornography, children, privacy, United Kingdom
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