back to article UK.gov to press ahead with online smut checks (but expects £10m in legals in year 1)

The UK government is bracing itself to face legal challenges when it implements controversial smut age check rules, and has said it could cost up to £10m in the first year alone. The plans to require online porn providers to check users are over 18 before granting them access to the site have been in the offing since 2017, …

  1. MiguelC Silver badge

    Are you 18 or older?

    Yes / No

    There. Done.

    1. Justin Case
      Boffin

      Re: Are you 18 or older?

      18 or Older? Yes / No? That's a bit binary. What about age fluidity?

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Are you 18 or older?

        Did you search for this website? Yes/No

        And we already have a system for that, we are already doing it. The gov should not be dictating their way into our lives, the parents should be bringing up their children and leading them into the world.

        1. Martin Summers Silver badge

          Re: Are you 18 or older?

          "the parents should be bringing up their children and leading them into the world"

          Well if this plan goes ahead they won't be able to find out how until they're 18.

        2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

          the parents should be bringing up their children and leading them into the world.

          Except one particular "parent" in question (who couldn't figure out how to enable age barring on her browser) started all this BS.

          I'll leave the name of the Conservative MP who I'm thinking of as an exercise for other readers.

    2. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Re: Are you 18 or older?

      Absolutely, if you want to be old school about it then have the no button take them to the Disney website. Brings back memories...

    3. low_resolution_foxxes

      Re: Are you 18 or older?

      As much as I hate to propose the idea, could we not have an OS login level age ID optin service? I'd rather give android my ID rather than porn sites

      Protip: my favourite porn method is just to use Google image search with a search like "hot sex .gif" usually the 4chan nerds have .gifed all the really good shots, plus you also get to watch 5-10 great GIFs at the same time, AND it won't be regulated by the above. I'm guessing the Google cached .gifs are less virus probe than darker smutwebs too.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Are you 18 or older?

      Children start becoming sexually aware around the age of 10 and once that awareness has occurred, and the accompanying urges have started, there's no way of stopping it.

      The real problem here is that parents can't cope with, and are in denial of, that little aspect of reality.

      Rather than solving a problem, Age Verification just helps brush it further under the carpet.

  2. tmTM

    So what of all the sites hosted in another country?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They just block them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >They just block them.

        They poorly attempt to block them, easily circumvented by those under 18.

        1. Smooth Newt Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: They just block them.

          Remember, this isn't about age controls to protect children from pornography, it is to appease the Traditional Tory Voters and Social Justice Warriors who want to ban pornography outright. Of course, it won't appease them at all, only move the ball a little closer to their goal posts ready for the next turn of the ratchet.

          If the Government actually gave a damn about children, a third of British children wouldn't be living in poverty - up 100,000 on last year.1 Chronically not having enough food, or decent food, is a lot more damaging to a child's development than accidentally stumbling on some slap-and-tickle.

          1https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/child-poverty-increase-children-family-benefit-households-a8268191.html

          1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

            Re: They just block them.

            "Traditional Tory Voters" are the main consumers of porn - they just deny it of course like everything else, BREXIT? No problem, Age Verification? - that will be easy, Irish Border? Blame the EU ...

            Every "problem" is either not a problem or someone else's problem.

            1. anothercynic Silver badge

              Re: They just block them.

              @Version 1.0, that may be true, but remember that those same traditional Tory voters won't ever be *seen* to be main consumers of porn. They deny it. But they are perfectly fine to disadvantage everyone else purely based on 'I'm alright, Jack'.

      2. phuzz Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        "They just block them."

        Got a source for that?

        Also, how would they block them, put them on the same list as kiddie porn? Or the same block they try to use on file sharing sites?

        Enquiring minds want to know.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          They give out block lists to all the schools to pass to the pupils so they know not to go on them. Foolproof.

          1. JohnMurray

            My Grandchildren (12/9/8yrs) know how to use the schools computers/ipads better than the teachers....this is not going to end well

            (sexually-frustrated adults being shown the way to access porn by their kids)

            1. John G Imrie Silver badge

              It was ever thus

              As a 16 y/o student at a college I knew more about computers/computing than the tutor supposedly teaching the course.

    2. Valeyard

      So what of all the sites hosted in another country?

      Oh god, imagine if we were all restricted to british porn. This is the worst-case scenario, and should be the rallying cry for the opposition

      1. Gordon861

        Non stop Ben Dover etc

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Gimp

      Not about porn really.

      This is just the classic TOTC softening up BS so beloved of the data fetishists who support this to help populate their what-sort-of-person-are-you database.

      Check the categories.

      You'll find they include "Anorexia advocacy" and "Esoterica"

      BTW I'd say most fetishists are normally harmless and only indulge their thing with like minded people.

      OTOH Data fetishists want to do their thing with (or rather to) everybody, all the time. Forever.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Somehow I'm confident that there are more CC licensed cat videos than twice the world's porn.

    Problem averted.

    1. DropBear Silver badge
      Trollface

      But what if they just declare your site's content "100% pussy" and shut you down anyway?!?

  4. Valerion

    Leisure Suit Larry

    I propose a verification system based on the Leisure Suit Larry implementation where people have to answer questions that only those over 18 would know the answers to.

    Would fit in with the porn theme, too.

    1. }{amis}{ Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Leisure Suit Larry

      LOL that's a blast from the past my father had that game it took me about an hour to brute force all of the answers!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Leisure Suit Larry

        Ken sent me!

    2. Glen 1 Bronze badge

      Re: Leisure Suit Larry

      If she doesn't know where the fresh prince spent most of his days, she's too young for you bro

    3. Suricou Raven

      Re: Leisure Suit Larry

      "If you wanna be my lover, you have to learn to ____?"

      "Name a children's costumed entertainer with yellow spots and googly eyes."

      "What do the letters 'LGPS' on a payslip stand for?"

  5. Waseem Alkurdi
    Trollface

    Ancillary service providers (ASPs)

    Losing much market share to Apache.

  6. Waseem Alkurdi

    Rather, search engine owners should “amend their algorithms to push non-compliant sites down the list, and give compliant sites a higher ranking”.

    Yeah. Good luck getting Google (the only search engine) to do that.

    1. Glen 1 Bronze badge

      >Good luck

      I know, right? Penalising search results that actually contain what is being searched for.

      I was going to make a sarcastic remark about being more like bing, but ironically bing is better than Google for porn.

  7. Mycho Silver badge

    Just to clarify,

    If we successfully sue the BBFC for 2bn will that mean they go out of business?

  8. msknight Silver badge

    Government doesn't want a repeat of the Labour vote loss

    Given the membership of just one online paid-for forum (Alt - which had over half a million UK members at one point) and the number of votes that Labour lost at the general election after the 2008 law that they introduced, there is good reason that the conservatives don't want to repeat the same mistake by going too heavy.

    Also, Erotica, at Olympia, at its height, had more visitors than the BBC Good food show at its peak. Nearly three times. So sex is almost three times more popular than good food, apparently.

    And Labour know this, because I told them. Repeatedly. And I've given the figures to the conservatives. But they've still gone ahead with this. Political suicide IMHO.

    1. Mycho Silver badge

      "So sex is almost three times more popular than good food, apparently."

      Well, we are British after all.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "So sex is almost three times more popular than good food, apparently."

        Why can't we have both?

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: "Why can't we have both?"

          It's unhygienic, and a right pain to get out of the bed sheets.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Why can't we have both?"

            Who mentioned beds?

          2. hmv

            Re: "Why can't we have both?"

            You're doing it wrong. Hint: What do you think the kitchen table is for?

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: "Why can't we have both?"

              >What do you think the kitchen table is for?

              Making me dinner

          3. Crisp Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: "It's unhygienic"

            Only if you do it right...

          4. Version 1.0 Silver badge

            Re: "Why can't we have both?"

            I hate crumbs in bed.

            1. RegGuy1

              I hate crumbs in bed.

              Well have crumbs on the kitchen table.

              She might like that.

          5. DropBear Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: "Why can't we have both?"

            "a right pain to get out of the bed sheets"

            I've been told that's what those PVC sheets every single sex shop sells are for.

            1. Jedit
              Coat

              "those PVC sheets every single sex shop sells "

              You've been into every single sex shop? Wow, that's dedication.

              Which reminds me of a joke I heard from a German friend, translated badly here for your pleasure. A Bavarian woman goes into a sex shop and starts openly admiring a 12-inch mains-powered vibrator. The proprietor comes over and says, "Impressive, isn't it?" "Yes", the woman replies, "it is a triumph of engineering!"

              1. anothercynic Silver badge

                Re: "those PVC sheets every single sex shop sells "

                Come on then. What's the real German version... Ein Deutschsprecher wants to know ;-)

                1. Jedit
                  FAIL

                  Re: "those PVC sheets every single sex shop sells "

                  I don't know, I don't speak German very well - they translated it for me!

              2. DropBear Silver badge

                Re: "those PVC sheets every single sex shop sells "

                You've been into every single sex shop? Wow, that's dedication.

                Naaaah, I'm not that thorough. On the other hand, every single sex shop I've ever been in (and rest assured, it's LOTS) _was_ selling them... :)))

        2. JohnMurray

          Re: "So sex is almost three times more popular than good food, apparently."

          Because good food costs....and we're British

    2. Handlebars

      Re: Government doesn't want a repeat of the Labour vote loss

      Both eclipsed by the Chelsea flower show though. We know what really matters.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Government doesn't want a repeat of the Labour vote loss

        >Both eclipsed by the Chelsea flower show though

        The biggest display of floral genitals and open air reproduction

      2. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Government doesn't want a repeat of the Labour vote loss

        Both eclipsed by the Chelsea flower show though. We know what really matters.

        I always thought that 'institution' was a cover for something nefarious.....

        What are the real 'flowers'?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It seems there are so many loopholes that it isn't going to achieve anything worthwhile. The playground grapevine will soon promulgate evasions and leaky xxx content. The more difficult it is intended to become - then the more kids will go to greater lengths to find it. Education is the answer - so it is no longer seen as "forbidden fruit".

    An 18+ threshold is not going to help 16+ kids who are legally allowed to have sex - with blindfolds? If they are old enough for the very adult responsibilities of marriage - then why can't they be considered responsible enough to handle xxx material if they wish?

    1. h4rm0ny

      It will achieve one thing. It will push those seeking soft porn and normal porn to rub shoulders with those trading in the more hard corn and violent porn.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        ...hard corn and violent porn

        Mindbleach please!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yea! I cracked a tooth chewing on that hard corn.

        1. David 132 Silver badge
          Happy

          hard corn

          As in, “barley legal teens”?

          1. PhillW

            Not as pervy as running through the wheat fields though!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "[...] hard corn."

          Is that what is used for the game of cornholing?

    2. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge

      You're missing the entire point of the legislation. It isn't supposed to stop children finding porn at all; it is supposed to appease the neo-Puritan nitwits who think that anything pleasurable is bad and seek to control everyone else's lives, presumably to make them as miserable as their own existences.

      Said neoPuritans generally don't have much of a grasp of technology, so a gormlessly stupid law that is easily circumvented is all that is necessary to convince them that Something Has Been Done.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "supposed to stop children finding porn"

        So they never checked under the mattress? That's where I found all my porn when my parents were out - I always put it back where I found it.

  10. macjules Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Traceable access Logs?

    ... content providers should keep logs of access for a period of six months to a year to guarantee the BBFC could trace “every age verification to its original source”. Of course, Ageify is developing such a solution and is "ready to showcase it whenever needed”.

    I can just see the round-robin household letters where the BBFC demands to know who accessed www.kardashianswithdonkeys.com on such and such a date, just because they have a record of that IP in their access.log files.

    Perhaps Capita might get the contract to enforce access ...

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Traceable access Logs?

      "...who accessed <a href="www.kardashianswithdonkeys.com">link</a> on such and such a date, just because ..."

      FTFY. (At least, I almost did. At the last minute I had a change of heart for the benefit of those readers whose browsers have an aggressive pre-fetch. We wouldn't want anyone to end up in the wrong databases now, would we?)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can someone tell me the difference between a pornographic image on social media and one on a porn site? Also what difference would that make to someone under 18?

    There's something off about this, do any politicians have their fingers in any of these pies?

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      I've not seen a proper definition of porn either. How much nudity do you need, or is it just what they do? One man's sex-scene is another man's outrageous porn.

      Are we saying the 18 rated violence is ok?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That's a good point, what if I get off on spatulas, are they going to block kitchen utensil websites as well?

        1. Stuart Castle

          I think the spatulas would need a little context. if the site is clearly designed to let people get their rocks off, then it might be covered. If it's just a site to sell kitchen utensils, it'd be fine. If they just banned everything that might get people a little excited, that would mean Amazon is fucked. Literally, probably.

          1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            "If they just banned everything that might get people a little excited, that would mean Amazon is fucked."

            Wikipedia, too, if anyone bothers to look. There are some very "not safe for school" pages there and some of the "external links" are perhaps too relevant.

            But then, it's an encyclopedia. It also has some pretty gruesome stuff in some of the history articles. (Rightly so, IMHO, since there are definitely bits of history that we don't want to repeat.)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Agreed.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_general_election,_2017

      2. Stuart Castle

        There are already legal definitions of porn, that are used as the basis for (amongst other things) the film and video ratings system, and the obscene publications act. They'd likely use those.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      >Can someone tell me the difference between a pornographic image on social media and one on a porn site

      The government would look mad if they censor that photo of that girl in vietnam with naplam / without clothes, or ban pictures of starving naked babies in an African famine.

      The government doesn't want to look mad (allegedly)

      Therefore they need an exception

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        >Can someone tell me the difference between a pornographic image on social media and one on a porn site

        Letting the social end off the hook is hobbling the entire stupid endevour into complete pointlessness. i'd expect the underage to be more likely to be affected by the random amateur stuff on social media than more dedicated sites.

        Encountering it on a dedicated site is more likely they've gone looking for it rather than just happened upon it. We're too much in danger of weeding out curiosity by making errant wanderings irrevocably life-changing on so many fronts.

        Deviant Art is currently killing itself with excessive censorship driving talent away.

        I'd up that indemnity if I were them, no matter what they intend to permit, they'll be bound to censure some educational or sexual helpline site at some point (which has happened before), same way they assured the underage would be treated as special cases over images, and that's gone wrong multiple times.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          deviantart

          devian tart? Isn't that a very broadminded Linux distro (although some things are, obviously, beyond the pale)?

    3. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Ban violent porn!

      Let's start with the Venus de Milo, poor girl with her arms chopped off and about to lose her skirt.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, as per the standard, its turning into a cluster fuck of epic proportions which will end up meaningless unless things like VPN's and the like are banned in the name of protecting the children.

    1. h4rm0ny

      unless things like VPN's and the like are banned in the name of protecting the children.

      Shhhh! Don't give away stage two!

      EDIT: Seriously, that really is stage two. First, make porn illegal under the right circumstances (i.e. without verification of identity - the only way you can check someone's age). Then say "people are still able to access porn illegally. How can we stop this?" It's not that I'm pro-porn (though it's people's right if they wish). It's that I'm anti- Government having the tools to destroy privacy.

      1. Spazturtle Silver badge

        They can just do what France did and ban encryption.

        1. hmv

          I don't encrypt. Just because I throw around large amounts of random numbers doesn't mean I use encryption.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Just because I throw around large amounts of random numbers doesn't mean I use encryption."

            Ah - you must work for Bojo or Moggs.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        things like VPN's and the like are banned in the name of protecting the children.

        I'm afraid this is quite possible, if the VPN usage were to jump considerably. At the moment, it is a very much "niche" product (in terms of figures, i.e. number of VPN users v. number of all internet users). But if our benevolant masters feel those numbers suddenly surge, they will take action. And banning / supervising one by one, "extremist content", "pirated content", now "filthy content" might have this effect on people to reach out for VPN. Obviously, as it's a paid-for service, usually, current generation will find it hard to stomach to pay a couple of squid, so VPN might (MIGHT) be safe from "regulating" for a couple of years. But in general, yes, give "them" enough excuse, and it will go, in the name of democracy with "voluntary registration for VPN access". I don't know what they're going to do about those robot-roaches that carry miniature capsules to the recipient via sewage system but hey, let's not ban those yet until they become real...

        1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

          Re: things like VPN's and the like are banned in the name of protecting the children.

          "And banning / supervising one by one, "extremist content", "pirated content", now "filthy content" "

          Don't forget the most damaging banned category of all; esoteric content.

          It was under Camerons watch that the list of things-to-be-banned was first created and the contents of that list has not really changed much since. Esoteric is a very broad category of things, roughly defined as things that are not in the mainstream, but it allows for the blocking of websites of all kinds; alternative religions, conspiracy sites, BDSM discussion forums, and, perhaps most importantly, alternative political views. Pretty much its carte blanche to ban any website on the basis of "we don't like this because its not our version of 'normal'".

          https://www.change.org/p/uk-prime-minister-david-cameron-stop-the-unnecessary-censorship-of-esoteric-websites-and-web-forums

      3. chris121254

        It's not illegal without verification of identity at least viewing is not.

    2. Stork Bronze badge

      Isn't a clusterfuck quite appropriate in this case?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thin end of the wedge

    >“The focus of the legislation should be pornographic websites, rather than popular social media platforms on which pornographic material is only a small part of the overall content.”

    Remember: "Focus" != "limit"

    > the likes of Twitter and Facebook can be asked to remove their services from the non-compliant sites

    Surely Twitter and Facebook are sites. I'm guessing this means they should block the accounts, in the UK at least. They won't do anything until they're compelled by law.

    > the government’s purported aim of protecting children from stumbling across porn online

    I doubt anyone "stumbles" over a dedicated porn site, they go in search of it. The kiddies might stumble across porn on sites they already use, like Twitter. So it won't even make a dent in the problem it claims to solve.

    > This will be a welcome move for those who feared further creep of state control of the web, and the spectre of a regulator being able to require an ISP to block Twitter.

    No it isn't welcome at all. This is the thin end of the wedge. When the govt find this doesn't work they'll go further and the social media sites will eventually be on the target list... as will any site where you can post anything, including El Reg. That annoying Disqus company will be running all the forums. And since age ID often means full ID that scope will creep too. It'll be well supported too because it's Jess Phillips and co's preferred solution to attempt to stop all online abuse.

    1. chris121254

      Re: Thin end of the wedge

      Unlikely Disqus company will be running all the forums or the sites where you can post anything are going to blocked.

      And you wont be force to use a ID to use the internet.

  14. charlieboywoof
    WTF?

    I am a lobster

  15. JeevesMkII

    One third porn?

    So if I started Dave's Kitten Emporium (also featuring hardcore smut) and uploaded two videos of cute kittens to every one of sex I'd be exempt from the regulations?

    Are reddit going to have to calculate just how much of its content is porn, and do comments count as not-porn?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One third porn?

      I saw an adult performer recently discussing whether more than 2/3 of her work being plot made it okay.

    2. justAnITGuy

      Dave's Kitteh Porn?

      Seems a reasonable enough stretch to me.

    3. robert_m

      Re: One third porn?

      Shouldn't that be "Dave's Pussy Emporium"?

      1. cbars

        Re: One third porn?

        with the amount of javascript, cookies and crufty HTML on most sites. I don't think there are any sites on the internet that can be classed as 'pr0n'

    4. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: One third porn?

      Technically if just the fleshy bits are porn, then as long as the image/video is not zoomed in too much then it's very unlikely that it will be 2/3 porn. For a video, is the measure per frame or overall? So would a 10 second blah, blah, blah, warning or advert at the beginning and/or end of an online video mean average out?

    5. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: One third porn?

      I'm hoping porn sites will start carrying amusing cartoons and interesting articles to read like good old-fashioned printed mags did.

  16. Herring`

    I've not tried Opera for a while, but doesn't that come with a free VPN? Even if it's a bit crap, at least grot will be freely available without ID. I have my own VPN solution - for research purposes - but for non-techies, it could make that browser quite popular.

    I wonder how the security services feel about a mass take-up of VPNs in the general population.

    Also I wonder when they are going to start advertising jobs at the BBFC for classifying websites. You could be fired for not browsing porn.

    1. theModge

      VPNs

      Firstly from times when I work with only "slightly" tech people it seems VPNs are a fairly well known solution for general piracy, so there's no reason why they wouldn't think to put them to use for porn. As this is rolled out I imagine the knowledge only spread; soon every child in the playground will be using their mates dad's VPN for their porn needs (because what 14 year old can afford a decent VPN?).

      Combine this with the prevalence of Tor for the procurement of all ones black market pharmaceutical needs (again, even amongst by people who work far from the tech sector) and soon every last one of us will look like a terrorist as far as GCHQ is concerned. So many of their potential employees will have used one or both of these things it will be literally impossible for them to recruit enough people to do the spying.

      1. }{amis}{ Silver badge
        Go

        Re: VPNs

        "because what 14 year old can afford a decent VPN?"

        Who said anything about a decent vpn there are plenty of crappy ones out there that will do and that's before you even mention the TOR network.

      2. iron Silver badge

        Re: VPNs @theModge

        "soon every last one of us will look like a terrorist as far as GCHQ is concerned."

        We're already all terrorists according to GCHQ, NSA, etc.

      3. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: VPNs

        Opera Mobile has or had a free VPN solution. Even if that has gone, plenty of new ones which can be used to surf porn (and which also serve up adverts in order to fund themselves) will spring up, along with a crop of malicious VPNs which infect your hardware with viruses.

        The kids won't care, just so long as they can get their jollies.

      4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: VPNs ...... Beware ..... Some are for Pirates

        Some VPNs allow one to select your "new" ip address as if from another nation.

        So if in Spain, and using a VPN service allowing one to choose use of a spoofing UK ip address, can one reasonable expect to be able to access BBC iPlayer programs on the sunny Costa Blanca?

        And whenever BBC iPlayer returns its ..... Not available in your foreign location ..... is the VPN a fraud?

  17. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    All this is a fine plan. As long as I am able to use the personal details of my local member of parliament to "prove" that I am 18 or over. Unless they voted against this daft and useless legislation, however given the idiocy of party politics, doubtful.

    1. ivan5

      +10

      Excellent idea.

  18. Alister Silver badge

    solutions should confirm only that a person is aged 18 or over, rather than confirming their identity.

    Right.

    So, as already mentioned, that pretty much only leaves the "Are You 18 or over" checkbox as the solution of choice...

    Anything else like Credit Card validation, AdultPass etc would require proof of identity as well.

    1. Herring`

      It can be done

      Anything else like Credit Card validation, AdultPass etc would require proof of identity as well.

      But that requires the separation of the age verification from the pr0n - which is clearly an issue in the Mindgeek setup.

      It could work like this:

      Age Verifier asks for proof of ID

      Age Verifier sets up credentials

      Age Verifier deletes ID

      Then when you're up for a bit of grot browsing, the Age Verifier can issue a token which grants access. ID is not held at all after the initial setup - except maybe an email address for password resets.

      Oh course, this means that one kid sets it up with his dad's credit card and then sends the credentials to all his mates.

      So, yes, it's feasible but it's still a stupid idea.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It can be done

        I don't trust the "Age Verifier deletes ID" part

        1. Herring`

          Re: It can be done

          No, nor me. But GDPR ....

          I just outlined how it could be done. Not how it will be done. Until an MP's pr0n browsing history is leaked, they won't care.

          1. tiggity Silver badge

            Re: It can be done

            Would I trust ID data to a 3rd party (even if they claimed to delete it) - NO.

            .. It would not be age verification, they would want something that has all the data needed for identity theft, such as passport, driving licence.

            Would a pr0n film from a reputable company with you involved be sufficient proof of age? Given the filmmakers vet ages of participants to ensure over 18 (21 in some jurisdictions) - hours of fun as lack of age proof stops you accessing the film that proves your age.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: It can be done

              "[...] hours of fun as lack of age proof stops you accessing the film that proves your age."

              The cast of the 1963 film "Lord of the Files" was lots of boys aged up to 12. One live adult gets a two minute role right at the end of the film. When the film was released the boys were all to young to see it in a cinema.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: It can be done

              "Given the filmmakers vet ages of participants to ensure over 18 (21 in some jurisdictions) - hours of fun as lack of age proof stops you accessing the film that proves your age."

              A man in the UK was prosecuted for having browsed a US gay pr0n site that had actors' age verification. He was convicted because the police said some of the people in the browser's cache "looked under 18". His conviction was only overturned in the appeal courts.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: It can be done

                The law in the UK is appears or is intended to appear < 18

                whatever the age of the performer.

                Strictly speaking Donald Trump in a nappy would be child porn

                ...... now there is an image you can't get out of your mind.....

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: It can be done

                  "The law in the UK is appears or is intended to appear < 18"

                  Completely kills St Trinians costumes for fancy dress parties if anyone should take any pictures. A Bristol club's licence was made conditional on not using that theme on their posters for fancy dress nights.

                  Kent University (UK) student committee have just laid down draft rules for what is not allowed as fancy dress at a student entertainment - for fear of causing offence or hurt. Among the many proscriptions are Priests or Nuns - so there goes the old Vicars and Tarts parties of the 1970s.

        2. John G Imrie Silver badge

          Re: It can be done

          I don't trust the "Age Verifier deletes ID" part

          FTFY

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It can be done

        "Oh course, this means that one kid sets it up with his dad's credit card and then sends the credentials to all his mates.

        In the supermarket today a very tall lad built like the proverbial brick building was buying a large bottle of spirits. He towered over the assistant asking him for ID to show he was 18+. He apparently hadn't any - so had to leave without it. The rule they apply is "looking under 25".

    2. ivan5

      This is a typical government cockup that will mist probably result a vast release in personnel details aka credit agencies.

  19. The Nameless Mist

    Something better to do

    Doesn't Her Majesty's Government have something better to do than trying to interfere with people's viewing habits?

    I'd point out that PM May's "Totally Brexit Folly" project is running full steam onto the rocks of a no-deal exist and they should be focusing on that surely?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Something better to do

      If you understand Brexit to mean isolating the UK, this is part of that.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can we also get these checks onto the Daily Mail ?

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      No, no we can't. How would the Daily Hate operate without an article decrying the sexualisation of children (which is, of course, the EU's fault) next to lots of pictures of "celebrities" and their children on beaches.

  21. DougS Silver badge

    How is this supposed to work?

    Are they going to install a Great Firewall to block all non-complying foreign sites? Are they going to try to sue them? That might work against the ones that charge, since they'd be collecting revenue in the UK that could be attached by the government. But who the hell pays for porn? Certainly not those under 18 who'd have to use their parents' credit card!

    1. Herring`

      Re: How is this supposed to work?

      Are they going to install a Great Firewall to block all non-complying foreign sites?

      I hadn't thought about this before, but do the big porn sites use CDNs? The same CDNs that are hosting non-pr0n? I realise that I could check this with a "view source" but not at work I can't.

  22. ukgnome Silver badge

    Anyone else think this will be a cockup?

    To continue viewing the cockup please verify your age

  23. m-k

    re. it could cost up to £10m in the first year alone

    well, with BREXIT dividend (very soon, hurrah!), it'd take... lemmethink.... 350 million per week that's got to be... no more than a couple of hourse. Yeah, we can afford it! And the benefit is priceless: eternal bliss knowing that our children are safe. Fuck yeah!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: re. it could cost up to £10m in the first year alone

      "[...] lemmethink.... 350 million per week that's got to be... [...]"

      A recent estimate is that the Brexit effect on the economy is MINUS 500 million a week.

  24. King Jack
    Childcatcher

    Just ban puberty

    Problem solved.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Just ban puberty

      Looking at the immature behaviour at the HoP recently, I think they're leading by example on this one (that's got to be a first).

    2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Just ban puberty

      Looking at some of our elected representatives I think the issue is that they are stuck permanently in puberty. Boris Johnson, 54 strikes me as someone with the mind of a 13 3/4 year old and the appearance of a 70 year old. Which one is relevant for age verification?

  25. Danny 2 Silver badge

    One sure cure for porn

    DEVIL DOG Haddington man who had genitals ‘ripped off and eaten’ seen walking with bulldog just days earlier

    https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/news/3335902/first-pictures-genitals-chewed-off-man-dog/

    "There were fears today the dog may have eaten the organs — making it impossible for them to be reattached."

    It seems cruel to kill the dog over this when people who know it describe it as a little angel. I know plenty of women who would be happy to rehome it.

  26. Dacarlo
    Gimp

    Heaven forbid...

    ...parents should manage their childs online activity.

    1. Augie

      Re: Heaven forbid...

      Ahh, but that would mean people taking responsibly for the fruits of their loins..

      fat fucking chance!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here's an idea

    Require parents and guardians who provide internet service to their kids at home or via mobile to choose a provider who manages a publicly accessible blacklist. The provider switches on the block as managed by the parent via App/IP/MAC/Timestamp or subject to retinal scan. Pick some means of identification.

    Let them pay for this imposed service via their ISP. Call it a parent tax. This will solve 2 problems.

    1) The irritated parents will be more likely vote for someone who will repeal this monstrous law.

    2) Those of us who don't have to pay the tax can feel slightly smug and less irritated by parent parking at the supermarket.

  28. DARTH_VADER

    Not Very D&D - (Smut Restirctions)

    Just have them roll a virtual dice :)

  29. earl grey Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Well spank me with that spatula

    And call me; surely. She calls all the time but i'm never available.

  30. Maty
    Big Brother

    This isn't about porn

    It's about controlling your internet access.

    People doing stuff that the government can't control is something a centralized state like the UK finds hard to tolerate. If HMG had set up the internet, we would have licensed users with registered IPs paying a license tax every year, with all usage monitored.

    As it is the govt. is playing catch-up. In incremental steps over the past decade, it has banned hate speech, extremist material, violent and other 'unacceptable' porn and now makes people in effect register for the rest. Monitoring and data retention systems ensure compliance. Because terrorists and protecting the children.

    They are halfway there. Expect more, much more to come.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: This isn't about porn

      They are halfway there. Expect more, much more to come.

      Luckily we have the EU to protect us from the UK gov's desire for thought and mind control. Oh dear...

      1. chris121254

        Re: This isn't about porn

        Thing is we are not halfway there let alone a quarter there.

        There government has failed so far to censor the internet in anyway.

    2. chris121254

      Re: This isn't about porn

      In the end they will never be able to control are internet access.

      And we are not halfway.

  31. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    What Does the Free Market Tell You?

    She said that it was impossible to accurately quantify the value of the risk, but had put it in the range of £1m to £10m in the first year. James added that due to the wide bracket the BBFC couldn’t get commercial insurance – and so will have to rely on the government to bail it out.

    The fact that the ravenous and rapacious insurance market is steering well clear and not prepared to accept/underwrite any risk is surely a certain sign that the program is guaranteed to fail spectacularly. ‽

  32. MonkeyCee Silver badge

    Desperate attempt to increase tech skills

    I'm assuming that this isn't actually a completely retarded policy that is technically impossible to implement, but there is in fact a cunning plan.

    So far the coding boot camps, IT in all subjects and general ramming of computers into every educational orifice have yet to produce the wunder geeks so needed in these desperate times.

    So how do we force the kids to learn some tech? Block their porn :)

    Based on my experiences with school IT support, most 14 year olds can manage a fairly high level of technical attacks, and are surprisingly good at thinking their way around stuff.

    The simplest trick I've seen to escape the filters is to use non-roman languages or non-roman websites. Never had to block Cyrillic, Arabic and Hebrew at an adults workplace, but those 14 year olds have a taste for the Russian sites.

    I'd like to claim my mad tech skillz spotted this, but t was overhearing one of the young gentleman use a couple of choice Russian swear words that made me notice....

  33. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    Rebrand and extend the site offerings

    I'm sure that one of the adult performers moved on to selling their own range of kitchen equipment, or cooking, but googling for it is tending to produce misleading results..

    Simply ramp up the number of recipes to 67% of the site, problem solved. No-one will believe you that you're reading it 'for the recipes' but at least it won't be blocked.

  34. Rol Silver badge

    You must be over 13 to join FB

    Facebook, with its huge resources cannot prevent determined children from joining the site.

    UK Gov hasn't got a cat in hell chance of keeping prying children/teenagers away from porn.

    While the intention has merit, its prosecution will be a calamity.

    Every porn viewing adult, which is practically every adult, will now be open to many more vectors of attack, as they get forced to hand over details that will eventually be weaponised against them, whether that be the original site owners or those who hack it wide open. And all the while the very children who are supposed to be kept protected will be downloading ever more dodgy software to maintain their go anywhere ability, leaving them open to ever more invasive attacks as their gadgets get taken over to become another platform for kiddie porn content.

    If our government was capable of planning beyond its myopic vision, then something workable could be expected, but oh no, our civil service is home to the most cretinous dimwits that crawled out of the sea, and their hierarchical structure specifically tuned to allow the very least in brain power to climb to stations reserved for them at birth.

  35. dmedin

    The English Nanny State Knows Best.

    Know your role, peasants. Do as you're told. That's English liberty for you.

  36. TsVk!

    They ould just ban all pr0n and then not enforce the laws

    They can just DNS block all pr0n like they do pirate sites in Australia. Then everyone can change their DNS and continue as normal.

    Fogies in government feel good because they did something to mitigate a perceived threat, people don't care because nothing has changed.

    Win win.

  37. j2017

    Surely the horse bolted long ago?

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