Age verification for pornographic websites to be introduced in April
Websites that are more than one-third pornographic will have to verify the age of UK visitors under a newly passed law.
While the regulations had been delayed as the government sought to amend them, age verification checks will become active from April.
One suggested method to verify ages is to require users’ bank card details for all pornographic websites they visit.
Neil Brown, the MD of law firm decoded.legal told Sky News: “It is not clear how this age verification will be done, and whether it can be done without also have to prove identity, and there are concerns about the lack of specific privacy and security safeguards.”
He added: “Even though this legislation has received quite a lot of attention, I doubt most internet users will be aware of what looks like an imminent requirement to obtain a ‘porn licence’ before watching pornography online.
“The government’s own impact assessment recognises that it is not guaranteed to succeed, and I suspect we will see an increase in advertising from providers in the near future.”
Mr Brown also expressed worry that the new laws would fall foul of civil liberties.
“The legislation can be used to compel ISPs to block access to non-compliant websites,” he said.
“Worryingly, this does not involve a court, and it expressly permits ‘overblocking’ - the blocking of ‘material other than the offending material’.”
Mr Brown added: “It is highly unlikely that this is consistent with human rights law.”