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MPs debate the UK porn block again, as part of the Digital Economy Bill

 (Image credit: Shutterstock)
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The ongoing discussion about a UK porn block has hit the House of Commons for debate, the BBC reports. The bill will bring in the much-talked-about legislation that will make it a legal requirement for porn sites to ask users to prove that they are over 18. 

For any porn company hoping to serve material to UK users there will be a requirement to verify the users is over 18. That might be done by the sites themselves, via taking a credit card number or it may be through a third-party verification service. 

The government has also announced, in the most recent draft of the Digital Economy Bill that it will be the BBFC which is responsible for the management of this system. It will have the power to enforce blocks or fine businesses that don't comply. 

Questions do remain about how the porn block will cope with services like Twitter and Reddit, which are host to a whole host of adult material. However those services aren't specifically designed to host porn, which might give them something of a pass to keep that material on their platforms. 

However the argument of the government has always been that it's about protecting children. If it can't do that across all platforms then what's the point in bothering at all? Perhaps that's a bit extreme, but the problem remains that kids will share things via social media, privately, and on services like WhatsApp where it's impossible for government controls to reach. 

Other issues that are likely to come up surround the privacy of people who use the age verification systems. While it's possible that these services will be anonymous there is also concern that any user ID could be connected to a particular person and their habits. While for many of us this would be, at worst, an embarrassment, some groups could find this deadly. Either because of targeted attacks, or through their sexualiy being revealed before they are ready to make that choice for themselves.