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UK to officially ban use of porn websites among under-18s from July

The new laws will come into effect from 15 July.

Image: Shutterstock/Stas Vulkanov

THE UNITED KINGDOM is set to introduce mandatory age-verification measures for users of online pornography later this year.

Under new laws, commercial providers of online pornography will be required to carry out age-verification checks on users to ensure that they are 18 or over from 15 July.

The measures, announced by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport today, will make the UK the first country in the world to introduce such legislation.

Minister for Digital Margot James said the introduction of the laws was required to prevent children from accessing inappropriate content.

“Adult content is currently far too easy for children to access online,” James said.

“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.”

According to a YouGov poll carried out on behalf of the UK Government, the measures are backed by 88% of UK parents of children aged 7-17, who agree there should be robust age-verification controls in place to stop children seeing pornography online.

The laws mean that websites which do not implement appropriate age-verification technology could have their payment services withdrawn or blocked for UK users.

UK citizens can verify their age using a number of methods, including a new Age-Verification Card which can be bought over-the-counter in shops, or by uploading ID documents online.

David Austin, the chief executive of the British Board of Film Classification – which will regulate the Age-Verification Cards – says the new measures mean the UK is leading the way in internet safety.

He added that the introduction of age-verification measures to restrict access to commercial pornographic websites was a ground-breaking child protection measure.

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