All porn sites ‘will require proof of age from April next year’

Rob Waugh
Contributor
It’s going to be more difficult to watch porn from April onwards (Getty)

Porn sites are set to require proof of age from April next year – with browsers greeted with a warning page requiring them to log in via an age verification system.

Users will need to provide ID, either in the form of credit cards, driver’s licences, or special cards purchased from shops – even for free sites.

Rules for how the ban on under-18s will work were quietly passed by the House of Commons this week – and are expected to be in place by April.

The ban on under-18s was approved as part of the Digital Economy Act last year, but the British Board of Film Censors had to come up with a system to verify people’s ages.

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There’s likely to be several companies offering age verification systems, says Stuart Lawley, CEO of AVSecure, which will offer one system next year.

Lawley predicts the system will launch by April 15.

Lawley says that 60,000 shops in Britain will offer Age Verification cards (based on shopkeeper’s assessment), which should be on offer before April.

Lawley says, ‘The British Board of Film Censors has been appointed as the regulator – and we expect they’ll give sites 90 days notice to comply, so it’ll probably be in place by mid-April.

‘The BBFC will look at the methods age verification systems use to verify people aren’t 18, so for instance, a name and adress wouldn’t be enough – but a scan of a driving licence or a credit card and CVV number would be OK.’

Users who attempt to access adult content will instead see a page asking for proof of age, which will redirect them to an age verification service.

‘Tokens’ proving that people are over 18 will be stored in internet browsers, allowing users to log in to sites (once they’ve proved they’re 18 and registered with an age verification system).

Lawley says that there are seven or eight systems, which will be certified by the BBFC, but he expects a ‘Coke and Pepsi’ system with most users opting for either AVSecure’s blockchain-based AgePass system or MindGeek’s system.

‘You will be able to go to our site and register your devices in advance of the law,’ Lawley says, ‘So consumers won’t have to put their mouse down, so to speak.’

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