UK age verification plans won’t block kids from popular porn sources

A proposed age verification system, designed to prevent children from accessing online pornography in the UK, will not apply to some of the most popular sources. The government plans will exclude websites like Tumblr, Twitter and Reddit because less than a third of the content on those sites falls under pornography and is available free of charge.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) plans to leave out social media and image sharing sites due to a “commercial basis” clause targeting sites that make money from porn, the Guardian reports.

Visitors to sites like PornHub will need to verify their age before progressing to the content, with several methods of access under consideration. However, kids under 18 will have no problems accessing online smut via the sites they regularly frequent as part of their daily online activity.

Given these sites are regularly used to access pornography without leaving the most obvious traces, the proposed regulations could make little or no difference to hairy-handed teens and their relentless quest to compromise their eyesight.

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A spokesperson for the DCMS said the legislation will be a major step forward in protecting children from online porn, but made clear that for now the focus is on those sites for which adult content is a ‘significant commercial driver’.

The spokesperson said: “Introducing age verification for commercial pornographic sites is a major step forward to protect children from easily accessible pornography. Our proposals mean that any websites marketing themselves as pornographic or for which pornography is a significant commercial driver will require age verification.”

Andy Burrows of the NSPCC told the Guardian that further measures may need to be taken to toughen-up against the social media providers after the new rules come into effect.

He said: “The UK is going further than any other country to shield children from pornography. But we can’t be complacent, because the new regulation won’t be the silver bullet in blocking all online porn, for example on social networks like Twitter and Tumblr where porn is readily available but makes up less than 30% of their content.

“There will be a government review 18 months after the laws kick in on whether regulation needs to be tougher.”

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