The British government, which is currently alternating between panicking over Brexit and not preparing for Brexit, originally planned to have to have its very prim and respectable new system for preventing people under the age of 18 from looking at naked people on the internet operating by April 2018. But per the Telegraph, the Conservative Party-supported scheme to verify the age of anyone who wants to watch porn in the country has been delayed after regulators failed to develop a plan for implementing it.
The Telegraph noted that the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) still hasn’t released any details about the planned system, which is mandated by the 2017 Digital Economy Act. The paper did spot, though, that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport wrote in a blog post over the weekend that they have concluded their goals are “best achieved by taking time to get the implementation of the policy right.” The department added that the final version of the guidelines would need to be subjected to a public consultation procedure and approved by parliament, and that it now is aiming to have the system operational by the end of 2018.
Though how exactly the UK will force porn sites to verify the identities of viewers has not been established, the government will require internet service providers to block those that do not. Pornhub’s monopolistic owners Mindgeek unveiled its plan to use a product called AgeID that relies on third-party verification data earlier this month. Though Mindgeek said it would allow “independent UK porn studios, producers, and bloggers” to use the system for free, Engadget noted that if AgeID becomes the UK standard it would give the company even more leverage over the porn industry.
Though the stated intention of the new requirements is to keep children off porn sites, the New Statesman argued that “this law is like forcing adults to hand over their ID, bank details, and be put on a list in order to enter a sex shop,” as well as instituted a suspiciously convenient process by which the government could arbitrarily block websites without a lengthy legal battle. (Prime Minister Theresa May is an outspoken advocate of sweeping expansions to governments’ authority to regulate exactly what their citizens see online.)
It is also, of course, impossible to keep horny teenagers from finding a way to get past something like this, though the proposed legislation does seem to achieve the goal of shaming adults and creating a system to track what kind of porn they watch.