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Porn Sites Will Need Proper Age Verification By 2017

Sorry horny teenagers, PornHub could be off limits for you until you're old enough to get a credit card.

by VICE Staff
07 July 2016, 10:35am

We can do this. Because we're adults. (Photo via author)

It's been rumoured for a while, but finally the teenage rite of passage aka entry into the world of online porn may be little more than a fable for the next generation. Porn sites in the UK will need proper age verification by 2017.

The British government has unveiled plans for massive age verification on porn sites in its new Digital Economy Bill, which comes into play next year. This will mean that owners of adult sites could be fined up to £250,000 if they don't check people's ages properly. Just how they're going to monitor ages isn't yet clear; however, the bill has concerned privacy campaigners, since it could mean having to register a credit card.

The Open Rights Group, which campaigns for privacy and free speech online, has said: "While preventing children from seeing pornography is a worthy aim, age verification is fraught with difficulties if infringements of privacy and free expression are to be avoided."

As this would be a ridiculously huge task given the numbers who log on for porn across the UK every second, the government has suggested the creation of a new separate watchdog. This body would be able to get in touch with credit card companies, even if the sites themselves didn't cooperate.

First proposed in the Queen's Speech, the bill aims to help the UK become a "world leader in the digital economy", whatever that's supposed to mean.

Is this a positive measure or just another crackdown? The NSPCC supports the bill, since half of all schoolchildren admit to having seen sexual and violent material on the internet, and its effects on young teenagers are clearly worrying. But ultimately this is going to be very difficult to police, because this is the internet, where porn is king and masturbating teens and adults are its loyal servants.

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