New law means people could have to verify their age at Post Office to watch online porn

Porn viewers may be forced to verify their age (Rex)

Porn viewers could be forced to verify their age at the Post Office before accessing material online under strict new laws.

The Digital Economy Act, which has received Royal Assent, is intending to make it more difficult for children to access adult content on the internet.

This means users could be forced to input credit card details, mobile numbers or visit the post office to prove their age.

Some reports say websites that fail to comply with the new regulations could face a fine of up to £250,000.

The bill also gives the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) powers to regulate porn and ban certain acts from being filmed.

However, privacy campaigners have warned that the law amounts to an infringement of rights, and could lead to Ashley Madison-style leaks.

The Ashley Madison website was hacked in 2015 (Reuters)

Jim Killock of Open Rights Group said: “If the government wants to have Age Verification in place, it must mandate a system that increases the privacy and safety of end users, since the users will be compelled to use Age Verification tools.”

Porn producer Harriet Sugarcookie told The Sun it was “only a matter of time” before a hack results in people’s porn preferences being leaked.

“Ultimately I’d say a database of porn watching habits is going to be out there and it will only be a matter of time before it leaks,” she said.

“The fact the government don’t know how it will be implemented yet doesn’t fill me with confidence.”

Under the bill, the government is also looking to crackdown on people who use Kodi boxes to stream illegal content in the UK.

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The law warns that people making and streaming films using torrents online will be committing a criminal offence and could face up to 10 years in prison.

However, the law is likely targeted at those making money out of illegal streams, rather than those watching at home.

Matt Hancock, the minister of state for digital and culture, said the legislation will help build a more connected and stronger economy.

“The Act will enable major improvements in broadband rollout, better support for consumers, better protection for children on the Internet, and further transformation of government services,” he said.