Privacy fears as UK plans age verification for porn sites

UK web users will have to prove they’re 18 or over before being able to access pornographic content, from next year.

The government has announced that by April 2018, adult websites must introduce age verification tools or face heavy fines of up to £250,000.

The plans were set out within last year’s controversial Digital Economy Act and are designed to protect children from accessing the content.

Visitors to sites may need to input their credit card details in order by bypass the age restrictions, as is currently the protocol with gambling websites.

According to a BBC report, the British Board of Film Classification could take on the role of determining which sites require age verification.

Digital minister Matt Hancock said in a written statement to the Commons: “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.”

Naturally, this has led to privacy concerns related to adult sites holding the identity of visitors, with one group claiming it could leave the public vulnerable to hackers.

The Open Rights Group’s Kim Killock told the Independent: “Age verification could lead to porn companies building databases of the UK’s porn habits, which could be vulnerable to Ashley Madison style hacks,

“The Government has repeatedly refused to ensure that there is a legal duty for age verification providers to protect the privacy of web users.”

Would you be willing to hand over credit card details to verify your age? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.