UK newsstands will sell ‘porn passes’ to verify ages under new laws

Last year, Britain passed the Digital Economy Act 2017, which includes new strict rules regarding access to pornographic websites. When the law comes into effect later this year, regulators have suggested that users can buy a "porn pass" from their local kiosk to verify their age.

The law will require websites to verify users' ages, or face harsh penalties. Those who do not comply risk being blocked by Internet service providers and face fines of up to £ 250,000 ($ 350,000). However, the implementation of these rules has been delayed to give the British Film Classification Board (BBFC) more time to draft its guidelines. Once it does, these new guidelines will require the approval of Parliament.

The government has said that the industry will be responsible for creating verification software, with platforms such as the MindGeek ID cited as a way to verify a user's age. However, there are concerns about the implications for privacy under that framework, and The Telegraph reports that the BBFC suggests a more anonymous option: its local press kiosk. Stores would sell a "pornography pass," a 16-digit code for around £ 10, and would require a driver's license or passport to verify the buyer's age. That method would not require someone to enter their personal information into an online database. In 2015, the Digital Police Alliance suggested that websites use "information that is already on the books" to carry out these controls, such as post offices or wireless service providers.

A spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sports, which is responsible for the legislation, said it is in the process of "implementing some of the strictest data protection laws in the world" and that the range of verification the options will have to meet those standards.