Porn Sites Will Legally Require to Verify Users Age
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Porn sites operating in the UK will legally be required to verify users’ age under the new online safety rules announced by the government. 

According to the upcoming Government Online Safety Bill, pornography sites will have to place  “robust checks” to ensure users are aged 18 or over. This may include using age verification technology to confirm the user has a credit card or a third-party service to confirm their age against government data. Though the OSB has not instructed them to use any specific tool or verification solution, they can decide how to comply. 

Chris Philp, the digital minister said, “It is too easy for children to access pornography online. Parents deserve the peace of mind that their children are protected online from seeing things no child should see. We are now strengthening the Online Safety Bill so that it applies to all porn sites to ensure we achieve our aim of making the internet a safer place for children.”

Failing to act will attract fines up to 10% of their turnover and their services in the UK will be blocked by the online harms regulator, this was confirmed to Ofcom in December 2020.

Further, the senior management of other tech firms, criminal liability for failure to share information with Ofcom will be extended to the bosses of the porn sites. 

Already tech firms have to deal proactively with terrorism and child sexual abuse. Though now the government has redrafted the bill to include revenge porn, hate crime, fraud, the sale of illegal drugs or weapons, the promotion or facilitation of suicide, people smuggling, and sexual exploitation.

With the Digital Economy Act 2017, the government did attempt to put the age blocks on porn sites, but there were numerous delays which included the technical feasibility of setting up a monitoring system for millions of users and websites and the controversy around invading people’s privacy – the plans were ditched in October 2019.

The latest provision will allow OSB to go further than the Digital Economy Act. It will protect children from a broader range of harmful content and a wider range of services. The Digital Economy Act did not cover social media where a considerable amount of pornographic material is accessible, and which children may use to access pornography.

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