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Consultation launched over UK age verification checks for porn users

The UK government has instigated a public consultation embracing internet providers, charities, pornography purveyors, parents, schools and academics to introduce mandatory age checks for porn users.

This would encompass any material that would be classified as 18 or R18 by the British Board of Film Classification to meet a Conservative manifesto pledge to make age checks mandatory for ‘all sites containing pornographic material’.

Baroness Shields, the internet safety and security minister, said: “Just as we do offline, we want to make sure children are prevented from accessing pornographic content online which should only be viewed by adults.”

In an effort to enforce any new measures the government has said it will create a new regulatory framework to enforce compliance with any new law, with ISP’s being given the power to block websites which fail to play by the rules as well as potential fines for those who don’t comply.

The move has been met by scepticism amongst security experts however who point out that the majority of pornography is now free to access and thus immune to any clampdown on payment processing.

One of the largest such sites, Pornhub, has already stated it will back any new measures however.

John Glenday

John Glenday is responsible for compiling The Drum's daily morning bulletin and ensuring that overnight breaking news is covered while you're still brushing your teeth. Can also make a mean cup of tea.

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