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Porn sites will be asking you for your age by spring next year

It’s coming

In 2016, the government announced new regulations on porn sites: commercial sites would be forced to have an age verification feature to make sure anyone attempting to access its content over 18.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport was meant to have the new policy implemented by April 2018, as part of the Digital Economy Act to protect children, but now the government has just announced it will be in force by spring 2019. As the Independent reports, the delay was due to the fact the government hadn’t developed the right system to verify ages safely and effectively. We previously reported on the concerning issues that would come about with such policy on porn sites, from hacked personal info to sex ed.

Margot James MP, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s minister for digital and creative industries, told a committee on Tuesday (November 13) that they plan to give porn sites three months notice in early 2018 of the new rules. James added that there could be more legislation aimed at social media sites that would put time limits on removing harmful content, which is already a policy in Germany.

Any sites that don’t make efforts to ensure adult or inappropriate material isn’t shown to under-18s face being blocked by UK internet providers, like sites that stream pirated films. This will be overseen by the British Board of FIlm Classification, which gives films age certificates.

It’s not clear yet how these age verification processes will work, though from what we’ve reported before, it seems likely that online services like AgeID will be used after the Digital Economy Act passes on the bigger sites like YouPorn and PornHub.

The government is making major efforts to protect young people and children on frequently used websites, with more concern focusing on social media networks and the issue of cyberbullying.

Critics of the age verification policy have criticised the upcoming rules, stating that they would be ineffective for anyone using a Virtual Private Network, or sending people to smaller sites that don’t comply with the new policy. There’s also issues with age verification tools that use ID and bank details, which could be hacked.