A new proposal has emerged in the war against online pornography, Culture and Media Secretary Sajid Javid has said that if the party comes back into power it would ensure adult content was NOT available to under 18's via the use of age verification systems.
The proposals centres around a strict interpretation of how age verification controls should be enforced and any website or Internet based service not complying whether operating in the UK or overseas would be added to a block list. This new system would be overseen by a new independent regulator, but would require the co-operation of all broadband providers to be effective and would very likely be expensive to implement due to the sheer size of the block list and that less responsible overseas sites would work to avoid themselves appearing on the lists.
Age verification is something that seems a good idea, but many adults will be dissuaded from sharing their credit card details, passport or driving licence information, but one would expect that just as with credit card transactions larger maybe more trusted institutions would handle this. The danger is that it could give scammers another way to fool the gullible into handing over personal data to verify their age, and even with age verification what is to stop a 14 year old acquiring a parents driving licence from a wallet or purse and noting down the details.
So far while adult content is referenced, it is not always clear if this means just 'hardcore pornography' or extends to a wider variety of material, and once block lists rise above a certain size it becomes easier to add other sites that do not agree with the morals of that week and thus we end up with a UK Firewall. A grey area will be video streaming services that offer PG through to 18 certificate material, many need a credit card to sign up but will adults then be expected to re-verify to view 18-rated content?