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New Law Requires UK Online Users To Submit ID In Order To Watch Porn

After a lot of hard work and controversy, the U.K. government has passed a law that will force online porn sites to introduce age verification software starting July 15, 2019.

The Guardian reports that once this law is in effect, online porn providers will have to activate an efficient age verification system in order to avoid sanctions, blockages and the withdrawal of payment services from their sites. These age verification methods include the use of passports, credit cards, porn passes purchased from physical stores, or government issued IDs — anything that proves the user’s age with some sort of legitimacy.

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“Adult content is currently far too easy for children to access online,” digital minister Margot James tells The Guardian. “The introduction of mandatory age verification is a world first, and we’ve taken the time to balance privacy concerns with the need to protect children from inappropriate content. We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to be online, and these new laws will help us achieve this.”

Although the law will certainly prevent children from watching porn, many opponents claim that it could have a chilling effect on free speech, posing a threat for people’s identity and privacy. It’s reasonable to fear a measure that will make it possible for your porn browsing history to be associated with your passport number.

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A law as strict as this one will have a big effect on the British porn industry, affecting millions of workers, websites and decreasing the amount of porn that’s consumed. The good or bad in this is up to interpretation, but censorship, especially when applied to the internet, tends to create more problems than it resolves.

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