UK Set to Introduce Porn Age Verification, VPN Interest Surges

The UK government has introduced an age verification scheme that would stop those below 18 years to view contents on porn websites.

The UK government will introduce an age verification scheme that will stop those below the age of 18 from viewing porn websites.

However, the system is flawed since VPNs can be used to bypass the ID checks. As a result, interest in VPNs has surged as people look for ways to circumvent the new regulation.

The UK Implements an Age-check System for Pornographic Content

Porn website visitors from the UK will have to verify their age before accessing adult content online. The new scheme introduced by the government will come into effect on July 15, and it is designed to stop children from viewing adult content.

Pornographic platforms that fail to comply with this latest regulation will face being blocked by internet service providers in the country. While the authorities in the UK believe that the age-check system is not perfect, they acknowledge that it will reduce the chances of children stumbling across pornographic materials on the internet.

The Minister for Digital, Margot James, describes this latest development as the first of its kind in the world. She noted that they had taken the time to balance the need to protect kids and privacy concerns. The primary aim is to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online, and Margot thinks these new regulations will help them achieve that.

The initial proposal was to sanction platforms that fail to put up the age verification checks, with fines of roughly $250,000. However, it was later agreed that blocking such websites would be more effective since chasing foreign entities for payment would be difficult.

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is tasked with regulating the new rules. When platforms fail to comply, The BBFC will issue ISPs directives to block them.

While the porn sites will choose how best to verify users’ age, the BBFC revealed it would award solutions with excellent data protection standards with a certificate. Such websites and apps will display a green age verification sign on their marketing tools to help users make more informed decisions.

Interest in VPN Surges

Despite the upcoming porn ban, it remains legal to use VPNs in the UK. VPNs can be used to make a computers internet connection look like it is located in a different region.

Therefore, critics state that the age verification system is flawed since people can bypass the ID checks by using a VPN. And it seems many people have already started looking for a way to bypass the system.

In a report by The Independent, the publication revealed that Google searches for VPNs tripled just a few hours after the UK government announced the age-check scheme.

The use of virtual private networks will make it look like UK residents don’t live in the region when visiting adult content platforms. Therefore, they will successfully evade age-verification checks and access pornographic sites.

Concerns Over Privacy Erupt

Critics have warned the government that the porn age-verification scheme could be disastrous for the people. The system could require users to enter personal details online or purchase passes from local stores before accessing porn content. Providing such personal information could lead to hacks and data leakage.

Jim Killock, who is the executive director of the Open Rights Group, argued that the government would have to force companies to implement privacy standards. Failure to do so would lead to data leaks which could be disastrous. If that happens, Killock believes the government would be to blame.

Some industry experts meanwhile suggest that there are alternative age verification systems that don’t require data gathering. The chief executive of age verification platform OCL & Portes, Serge Acker said this latest regulation by the UK government had resulted in a competition to develop the best age-verification technology.

He added that alternative solutions exist that would allow users to verify their ages anonymously without having to provide hackable data.

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