UK government to build 'age verification systems' for adult content, sparks privacy concerns

After managing to convince major ISPs that they have to censor access to online adult content for their customers by default, the UK government wants to go the next step in making sure British kids don’t have an easy time accessing such content.

The idea itself is not new, but it’s the implementation that sparked some concerns for privacy and free speech advocates, such as the Open Rights Group. The government’s plan is to create an “age verification system”, and while an official statement says that “no other personal details are necessary”, privacy advocates think that the digital market will create the means to build a “database of the UK’s porn habits” as soon as it is profitable to do so.

It’s no secret that our online activity is being tracked by web services, but it’s also not a secret that the “Age Verification Regulator” doesn’t have the obligation or duty to protect the age verification systems from being hacked, or making sure the online identity of every citizen won’t be linked with their porn habits.

The ORG argues that the Data Protection law is not enough to stop this from turning into a privacy nightmare, as well as a big cybersecurity risk for the UK. Furthermore, the organization believes that the issue with regulating access to online adult content is that the problem is much more complex, and has a social side which hasn’t been tackled yet by the government initiative.

The privacy group even created an amendment to the bill, which you can read here. In the meantime, it looks like video games have a noticeable effect on the demand for adult content, and porn sites are getting ever more creative in making sure that demand stays high.

Source: The Open Rights Group

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