56% of UK Adults Unwilling to Share Personal Details for Porn

Age Verification

A survey carried out by British broadband comparison site, BroadbandGenie has revealed that a massive 56% of UK adults would be unwilling to share personal information to access porn.

The survey was carried out in relation to the impending requirements that will see all adult websites be required to verify the ages of British visitors. These requirements are expected to be in place by April 2018.

The Digital Economy Act 2017 which contains regulation on restricting access to adult content faced stiff competition from privacy advocates but despite objection, it was given Royal Assent and passed into law.

No ID for Porn

The survey of 2103 British adults showed that 62% of respondents weren’t even aware such regulation was looming which will come as a shock to many when it is introduced in April.

Adult websites not only based in the UK will be required to verify the ages of British users or face the possibility of fines up to £250,000 or 5% of their turnover. Failure to comply can also lead to the site being completely blocked across ISPs in the UK.

While 48% of respondents to the survey agreed that age verification should take place it is telling that when it comes to it 56% said they wouldn’t be happy to share personal details with an age verification service.

A further 48% wouldn’t be happy to share that information directly with an adult site with an additional 19% unsure.

Verification undecided

While the BBFC have been assigned the task of regulating the process the actual verification method has been left up to the adult industry itself.

BroadbandGenie suggests that MindGeek may be one system used which requires users to create an account and verify their age by way of uploading or scanning a recognised personal ID document such as a Passport or Driving Licence.

Privacy implications

The privacy implications of this are blindingly obvious. Not only for the fact that services such as MindGeek are going to be storing large swathes of personal data such as passports and ID cards but they’ll also be linking this to the services you access.

Every time you access an adult site you’ll be required to login with your age verified account details. As all websites log what URLs you visit it will be simple for the service to build up a profile of your viewing habits.

If you have what would be considered more adventurous fetishes this could lead to uncomfortable viewing should details of your personal identity and viewing habits get hacked and released to the public.

It is not a case of the possibility of these databases being hacked, it is a case of how long until and when will be the first security breaches.

With exposures such as the Ashley Madison hack, Yahoo data breach, Adult Friend Finder and Equifax leaks fresh in the memories, it leads to uncomfortable reading for those concerned about their privacy.

Age Verification easily bypassable

While no one can deny the need for greater protection of minors from viewing adult material the regulations are slightly laughable and more worryingly, easily bypassable.

Sites such as Twitter and Tumblr are awash with adult material often posted by user accounts and while the intention of the sites is not to supply porn, it is unavoidable. This kind of content is likely to still be accessible without age verification.

Interestingly services such as Tor and VPNs will allow users to simply connect to another country and bypass the restrictions.

Most VPN services require payment via methods that are only available to over-18s, however there are some which accept payment that could be accessed by minors. Tor, however, is accessible freely for all regardless of age.

More importantly, VPN services can be used by adults to avoid any such requirements and aside from the obvious worries that minors may make use of such services they are more likely to be used by those over 18 who wish to access adult content without revealing their personal identity.

With a massive 67% of survey respondents saying they would be unhappy or don’t know if they would share their details for age verification it appears a large portion of UK residents will be seeking alternative methods to get their porn fix.

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