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March 14, 2019

Experts: New UK Porn-Block Law Will Drive Fans To Risky Behavior

The new United Kingdom anti-porn law, requiring fans who wants to watch porn online to verify their ages by uploading official identification documents, is set to take effect sometime next month, after nearly two years of delays, as AVN.com reported last week. The law requires all porn sites to be blocked by internet service providers, only unblocking them for individuals who upload their official documents certifying that they are over 18 years old. But as the onset of the radical new regulation regime approaches, critics of the legislation and online rights activists are warning that the law is not going to work quite the way that its backers expect it to. In fact, according to a report by Britain’s Sun tabloid newspaper,  the law, supposedly designed to prevent teens and children from accessing porn online, is likely to have some potentially damaging unintended consequences that will result in exactly the opposite of what the law is intended to accomplish. "If children want something, they'll generally be able to get it," said Open Right Group executive director Jim Killock. "[Porn] can be shared on USB sticks, sent by email, shared on WhatsApp. And of course, children can guess their parents' credentials and log into these sites that way—or steal them." Internet-savvy kids are also likely to turn to risky online behaviors, such as downloading pornographic clips from file-sharing sites, which as AVN.com has reported, can result in legal action both by the content's legal owners as well as by shady lawyers demanding thousands in cash to “settle” a threatened piracy lawsuit. Teens or even adult porn fans who want to avoid uploading personal information to porn sites may also seek out “free proxy” sites and software that often comes with spyware and other malware that automatically installs on a user’s computer or mobile device, Killock told The Sun. Wired magazine, as well, has branded the imminent UK porn blocking law “one of the worst ideas ever,” with the number one reason being, according to Wired, simply that “it won’t work.” “There are literally millions of porn websites. Unless you create some kind of government version of Facebook’s ‘nipple ban’—which, to be clear, is a terrible idea—you’re not going to catch all of them,” wrote Wired’s Roland Manthorpe. The law could also lead to more widespread internet censorship, because at least in its current form, social media platforms such as Twitter and Reddit will not be blocked, though both permit pornographic imagery to be posted on the sites. Whether the new UK porn blocking law could be expanded to block those popular social media applications is not yet clear. Photo By Carlos Suarez/Wikimedia Commons 

 
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