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The UK Government Wants Age Verification on Porn


The UK Government has issued plans to make porn websites comply with new age verification rules. This new system may possibly require credit card verification and could lead to a number of problems.

Last week, a British Commons inquiry recommended that sex work should be decriminalized. The report suggested that brothels and soliciting — which remain illegal — should no longer carry a penalty. The reasoning behind this was to protect sex workers, who are often victims of violence, in order to make them less afraid to seek help.

Why is it then, that the British Government has such a distaste for sex? Surprisingly, paying for sex is actually completely legal, and there are a huge number of professionals out there to suit your needs. Whether you just want an escort or you fancy submitting to a domme, you’re covered.


This hasn’t stopped a fierce number of draconian  (and frankly stupid) proposals coming from the government, however. The most recent of these is the announcement that the UK Government will implement new legislation in 2017. The regulation stipulates that porn sites must verify the ages of visitors, though how this will work in practice isn’t known.

It’s a common thought. New regulations pop up —  often against the recommendations of experts —  to curb something, but nobody actually knows how it will work. This happened this year with the Psychoactive Substances Bill, which effectively banned anything that activates neurons in your brain. That’s absolutely everything, by the way.

So, is it surprising that the UK Government would call for yet another unworkable law? Of course, it is.

According to privacy campaigners, in order for the law to be feasible, users would need to register a credit card. There are a few reasons why that’s a terrible idea. For one, not everyone will have a credit card. Secondly, it would likely increase bank fees, seeing as how they’ve now got to juggle everyone’s porn access too.


While that’s bad enough, it still gets worse: porn websites aren’t a top pick for handling details safely, and it opens up another avenue for fraud. With users being forced to register cards, it only takes one website with less than stellar intentions to harm millions. Worst of all though, is that unless we all get assigned a personal IP, kids will still access it.

Unless you’ve got some sort of arrangement with your ISP, your home broadband has a singular IP. It doesn’t matter if you, your roommate or your son is on it. If daddy fancies a bit of smut in the evenings, then junior can too.

Even parents who don’t subscribe are still gambling with their bank details; have we forgotten how many kids raid unaccompanied wallets?

According to the NSPCC, half of school-age children have seen porn. Half of school-age children have seen a parent or family member naked – so what? The fact that our society isn’t crumbling around us due to half the young population going mad, suggesting that it’s not as big a problem as they think.

They also stated that some children want to copy what they see (all kids do that). Sadly, forced abstinence seems the approach they recommend, rather than simply educating children properly. We’re raising the next generation of puritans.


What about the sites themselves? Well, any site that sits outside of the UK probably wouldn’t be beholden to the law. It’s unrealistic to expect them to implement this either, considering the potential costs involved. It’s a similar situation to the attempts to ban WhatsApp and encryption; US companies don’t have to (and often don’t want to) make special concessions for just one country.

The law would also impact sites that aren’t explicitly adult, but host content. Tumblr, for example, would likely be caught up in this. Depending on its reach, even sites like YouTube, which has a number of “sexy” videos, could be impacted.

Is porn a terrifying evil, out to destroy our youth? No, but if you’re a member of the British Government, it pays well to say so. It’s more a PR move than anything —  as it has been with everything —  and the failure to understand even simple technology demonstrates it.

As usual, it’s just another brazen attempt to crack down on personal; one that won’t have very much to show for it.

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