Free fantasies blocked! £5 corner-shop passport to porn set to protect under-18s

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Compulsory age and identity checks are expected to be imposed on internet pornography in the UK next month.

The government originally planned the use the scheme in 2017 to protect under-18s from seeing images of sexual images on their computers under the Digital Economy Act.

And already porn giants like Pornhub and YouPorn have elected to use the AgeID system, which requires users to prove their age using a credit card, passport or driving licence.

But one of the most embarrassing methods for porn users is the option to go into your corner shop – even your local supermarket – and buy a £5 pass!

AgeID, which is linked with major porn sites, say thousands of shops across the UK will offer the ID cards, which can be used together with an app on mobile phones to verify  identity.

In a statement reading like a manufacturer advertising an exclusive range, AgeID put out this statement: “The PortesCard is available to purchase from selected high street retailers and any of the UK’s 29,000 PayPoint outlets as a voucher.”

The company’s product AgeID expects to sign up between 20 to 25 million UK users.

The new AgeID system is expected to go live on April 1, though an exact date has not yet been set.

Porn sites that fail to comply with the news rules faces a fine of up to £250,000, or a complete block by UK internet service providers.

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) will block porn  if the sites fail to show they are denying access to under-18s.

However, Dr Victoria Nash, from the Oxford Internet Institute, said: “It may make it harder for children to stumble across pornography, especially in the younger age range, but it will do nothing to stop determined teenagers.”

So is this just the Government having to seen doing something about millions of people seeing something they would like to be doing?

Another critic, Dr Joss Wright from the Oxford Internet Institute,  said: “There’s privacy issues – you’re requiring people to effectively announce the fact they are looking at this material to the credit card authorities. And there’s serious security issues from requiring people to enter their credit card details into untrusted sites.”

However,  Margot James, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “It has taken longer than I would have liked, but I’d balance that with a confidence that we’ve got it right,”

British obscenity lawyer Myles Jackman: “Sites will offer three or four choices, with one being that you show up with your passport at your local corner shop or Sainsbury’s and get a card with a one-off unique identifying number.

“In the near future, you might also need to use such systems to log into site such as Facebook or Twitter, Jackman says. Jackman says, ‘There seems to be a massive groundswell of opinion in Westminster that age verification is a solution to the problem. It’s seen as a simple way forward to cure all the ills allegedly caused by social media.”

However, the general consensus among Parliamentary peers is that the regulations won’t solve the problem  – children stumbling across porn online .

Labour peer Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, said: “What we have before us will not achieve what the government intends, and may actually have unintended consequences and run the risk of stalling other, better alternatives, which I think we may have to consider in due course.”

He said: “These regulations are not future proof; they are not comprehensive; they do not catch social media; they do not deal with overseas providers; they will not deal with non-photographic images and other more elaborate ways in which pornography is now being purveyed; and they do not bind together the companies involved to try to find a solution.

Lord Paddick said: “We should not delude ourselves that these measures are going to be wholly effective in preventing children viewing online pornography or that they will adequately protect the privacy of adults seeking to access legal material on commercial porn websites.”

“We should be careful that we do not lull ourselves into a false sense of security just by passing these measures.”

Government minister Lord Ashton of Hyde said that the issue would be monitored – the rules should be reviewed 12-18 months after they come into force.

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