After several years and numerous delays, the UK government has quietly scrapped a scheme to make web users verify their ages and identities when visiting porn sites. For now, at least, horniness has prevailed in Britain.
The plan “concerning age verification for online pornography” will not be enacted, the country’s digital secretary announced on Wednesday. Instead, she said, the government will pursue more comprehensive reforms aimed at “protecting children from online harms.”
From the very beginning, there were obvious flaws in Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017, which required pornographic websites to verify the ages of visitors in the UK or face serious penalties. Even the basic mechanism of verification was left up to individual sites, resulting in a patchwork of worrisome ID systems that required the horny to give their private information to third parties.
It took officials longer to see the error of their prudish ways. In April, a government white paper determined that the plan contributed to “a fragmented regulatory environment,” making it harder to protect vulnerable internet users. That same month, a spokesperson for the body charged with enforcing the law admitted that “determined teenagers will find ways to access pornography.”
A spokesperson for Britain’s digital ministry told TechCrunch that they plan to incorporate measures protecting kids from porn-viewing in future, more wide-ranging regulation of internet companies. It’s difficult, however, to imagine any law aimed at checking the IDs of everyone who wants to see boobs online working correctly. As the people who actually study this stuff can tell you, porn, uh, finds a way.