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A new law has been set to prevent under-18s from watching online porn

A new law set to prevent under-18s from watching online pornography will come into force later this year.


 It will require users to upload their passport or driving licence before accessing adult sites.
Or they can buy a “porn pass” from a newsagent. These would cost £4.99 per device. The shopkeeper would have to verify the purchaser’s age.
Porn sites that don’t comply will face heavy fines or be shut down.
The plans have been slammed by civil liberties campaigners, who fear the registration process will create a bank of data that will be a target for hackers and blackmailers.
They also say power will be concentrated in the hands of major players that can afford the software required to meet the new rules.

MindGeek, owner of sites such as Porn Hub, already has an age verification firm called AgeID. It estimates a market of 25million in the UK – about half the adult population.
Daily Record columnist Darren McGarvey supports the porn block while Matthew Rice, Scottish director of Open Rights Group, thinks the legislation is flawed.
Wall between impulse and access is required - Darren McGarvey
Pornography should be treated as a potentially toxic substance, like alcohol. Kids can’t walk into a bar without being ID’d. Porn should be the same.
It’s a form of stimulation – visual, cognitive, sexual. If people use it for the wrong reasons, or overuse it, or begin to use it without any education about the risks, it can have an impact on their brain development and the way they think about sex.
It affects their expectations of themselves and of their partners. It’s having a profound effect on human relationships. Many people have their first sexual experiences with this sort of material.
We’re not talking about top shelf magazines or Page 3. On any mainstream porn site the algorithm tries to broaden your palate. It senses what you’re into and asks, have you tried this? It offers up more intense and more extreme material.
I started using porn as soon as I had
internet access. It was a way for me to manage difficult emotions and feelings and mental health problems.
It causes a sacrifice of intimacy. It’s not just my expectations of myself – how I should look or how I should perform. Partners I’ve had in the past have been conditioned to behave in a certain way. There are things that I have lost to porn that I don’t think I’ll ever get back.
I don’t think that people shouldn’t be able to watch what they like, or work in the adult industry. But I do think porn comes at a cost to human relationships, to intimacy, and connection. But some sort of wall between a person’s impulse and instant access is one of many things required.
The porn block is a first step. Porn is a powerful force in our society and it shouldn’t just be there for kids to access online without any regulation, or any education running parallel to it.
We can't trust industry with such sensitive data - Matthew Rice
The move to make age verification compulsory on adult sites comes with a worrying lack of safeguards.
There is a voluntary code of conduct, meaning that protections for individuals’ privacy are not essential. That is irresponsible.
Data breaches are becoming more and more common. Facebook had one this week, with millions of Instagram users affected.
The age verification legislation will require a lot of incredibly sensitive data, some of which people’s family members may not even know. As well as their passport, driving licence or credit card details there will be details of sexual interests and sexual identity.
All this is going to be placed in the hands of the porn websites. MindGeek, the company behind 80 per cent of adult sites, owns age-verifying software AgeID. MindGeek lost a million customer records in 2012 and 80,000 in 2016. The industry can’t be trusted with user privacy.
Yet the Government is handing MindGeek a monopoly on the content of porn with no restrictions on what they can do with its users’ data.
Stringent privacy safeguards need to be added. This data must only be used for age verification. It must not be used for behavioural advertising or tracking. It must not be sold on to data brokers such as Experian who can then sell it on.
The Government needs to take responsibility for this.
There must be a compulsory code of practice to underpin this legislation. The way it stands at the moment, data protection measures will only kick in when things go wrong. If that’s how the Government wants to run this system, it’s doomed to failure.
We’re not against the idea of age verification, we are against it until there are proper privacy standards in place.
Porn providers – and the Government – need to handle their users’ data very carefully.













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