UK Age Checks for Porn Will Take Effect in July

Opponents say new laws threaten privacy
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2019 4:25 PM CDT
   (Getty/scyther5)

(Newser) – Starting July 15, UK websites will have to run "robust" age checks on users before providing pornography—or face being blocked by the government. Sites also could lose access to payment services if they don't ensure customers are over 18, the Guardian reports. The age verification requirement is the first anywhere, the digital minister said. "We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to be online," said Margot James, "and these new laws will help us achieve this." Customers may have to provide credit cards, passports, or other documents to prove their age, per CNN, or buy a pass in person in a shop. The laws have been in the works for several years and were to take effect a year ago before encountering snags and delays.

Social media sites including Twitter, Reddit, and Tumblr were exempted over fears they'd be blocked for adult content. And privacy has been a concern. Opponents said the laws would essentially create a database of porn users that could be leaked, by accident or otherwise. People "will fall victim to scams and worse," the Open Rights Group said. In fact, per the Guardian, an email announcement about the new rule inadvertently revealed contact information for nearly 300 recipients. (Read more internet pornography stories.)

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