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Government Presses Ahead With Age Verification Plans For Porn

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Visitors to porn websites will be asked to supply credit card information to prove they are 18

The government is pressing ahead with plans that would require visitors to pornographic websites to provide credit card details to prove they are over 18.

ISPs have been offering network-level porn filters for some time now due to government concerns that adult content is far too easy for children to access.

However figures suggest these have not been adopted by users who are able to opt out of the restrictions if they so wish.

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Online porn block

Now the government now wants to go one step further, having included the measures in the 2016 Digital Economy Act. Any website that breaches the rules could be blocked by ISPs, with a new regulatory board introduced to implement the rules.

Digital Minister Matt Hancock will present the proposals to the House of Commons later today, pledging the UK will have the “most robust” child protection measures in the world.

It has been previously suggested such a block would be ineffective as most porn sites are hosted outside the UK. However courts have demanded UK ISPs block websites in the past, most notably those providing links to pirated content or illegal streams for football matches.

The government has also worked to make it harder to access adult content on public Wi-Fi networks with initiatives such as ‘Friendly Wi-Fi’.

Free speech and privacy campaigners have continually opposed such moves arguing that censorship sets a dangerous precedent that could see other types of website, such as those that might be deemed politically objectionable, blocked.

There is also the possibility that if porn websites acquire more payment information, they could become more obvious targets for cybercriminals.

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