UK adults may soon have to buy “porn passes” from corner shops to prove their age online

UK adults may soon have to buy “porn passes” from corner shops to prove their age online

Later this year, new UK legislation will require visitors to adult websites to prove that they’re over the legal age of 18. The logistics of how this will work, however, are proving trickier than thought.

It’s likely most porn sites will verify user ages through credit cards. After all, in the UK at least, you need to be over the age of 18 in order to access any kind of credit.

The problem is, around 40-percent of Brits don’t hold a credit card. And that says nothing about the 1.6 million working adults who are “unbanked” — meaning they lack access to mainstream banking services.

To get around this, the government department responsible for enforcing this law, the BBFC, has proposed another method of age verification that’ll see adults buy “porn passes” from high-street stores.

Here’s how it’ll work: you’ll go to your local newsagents and, along with the usual basket of bread and milk, you’ll ask for a “porn pass.”

If you’re particularly fresh-faced, the cashier may ask you to prove your identity, either with a driving license or a passport.

When they’re satisfied you’re over the age of 18, they’ll give you a sixteen-digit code, which you can use online to prove your age on X-rated websites. According to The Telegraph, these passes will cost around £10 (roughly $14).

Crucially, you can do this without revealing any details about yourself to the website — like your name, age, address, or passport details. While the “porn passes” will suit those with limited access to financial services, they’ll almost certainly be used by those wary of divulging too much information about themselves.

That’s something that’s understandable. It’s never pretty when adult websites leak user data. When hackers dumped Ashley Madison’s database to the public in 2015, the aftermath included break-ups and suicides. It was ugly.

It’s also believed they’ll have a use outside of porn. The Telegraph reports that the passes will also be used to buy alcohol and knives online — the sales of both being tightly restricted in the UK.

The new age-verification laws were due to be implemented in April, but have since been delayed. They’re expected to go into force at the end of the year.

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