Porn block: UK free porn website ban starts on 1 April – what it means

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In April of this year, X-rated websites will automatically be blocked by all internet providers, with users having to verify their age before they can proceed.

Users will be automatically blocked from using free sites like PornHub and YouPorn from 1 April 2019, unless they can prove their age.

Age-appropriate content

This automatic block, introduced under the Digital Economy Act 2017, is being put in place in an attempt to prevent children from seeing inappropriate content.

The Act states that commercial providers of pornographic content should have age verification checks on their websites, in order to prevent children from viewing explicit images and videos.

Proof of age

The terms of the Digital Economy Act 2017 state that online commercial pornography services which can be accessed from the UK must use an age verification system.

Mindgeek, the company that owns Pornhub and YouPorn, has developed a system called AgeID.

From the beginning of April, users will be redirected to a non-pornographic page, where they will then be asked to enter their email address and password. Users will then have to verify their age using a driver’s license, passport or credit card.

Users will have to verify their age using a driver's license, passport or credit card (Photo: Shutterstock)

This AgeID system will then allow users to be able to log into any porn sites that uses this Age ID system with their username and password.

Non-compliance

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), the UK’s pornography regulator, states that pornographic websites which do the following will not be considered compliant with the new law:

  • relying solely on the user to confirm their age with no cross-checking of information – for example by using a ‘tick box’ system or requiring the user to only input their date of birth
  • using a general disclaimer, such as ‘anyone using this website will be deemed to be over 18′
  • accepting age-verification through the use of online payment methods which may not require a user to be over 18 – for example by asking for ownership confirmation of a debit card
  • checking against publicly available or otherwise easily known information, such as name, address and date of birth

Any porn site that fails to comply with the news rules will face a fine of up to £250,000, or a blanket block by UK internet service providers.

The BBFC will also be able to block porn websites if they fail to show that they are denying under-18s access to their sites.

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