Online porn blocker could be a ‘privacy timebomb’ for 20 million Brits

The much maligned UK porn blocker comes into effect next month, but privacy advocates claim the age verification restrictions could become a data protection nightmare.

According to the Open Rights Group, the ID checks coming into effect on July 15 will create a “privacy timebomb” due to the current ‘baseline’ nature of data protection legislation.

“Due to the sensitive nature of age verification data, there needs to be a higher standard of protection than the baseline which is offered by data protection legislation,” Open Rights Group executive director Jim Killock said (via Independent).

“The BBFC’s standard is supposed to deliver this. However, it is a voluntary standard, which offers little information about the level of data protection being offered and provides no means of redress if companies fail to live up to it.”

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Under new laws, content providers will be forced to carry out ID checks on users to ensure they are over 18 years of age, but with 20 million UK adults set to be asked for verification to access porn, any breaches could put around a third of the country at threat.

However, according to a YouGov poll over three-quarters of the country still don’t know the checks are being introduced. 76% of Brits remain unaware of the decision to bring in the legislative plans last July.

Once the age rating checks are in place, Brits looking to circumnavigate the new rules will be required to use a virtual private network (VPN) in order to convince the adult sites they’re accessing the content from a different country.

However, according to the department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS): “This is a world-leading step forward to protect our children from adult content which is currently far too easy to access online.”

Mr Kinnock says the standard is “pointless and misleading.”

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