Sorry Kids, The Government Is Coming For Your Porn

Image: Getty Images

The Australian government will look into how well age verification functions on pornography sites in order to curb underage internet users from viewing the restricted content. The Parliamentary committee will examine whether the government can implement laws, similar to online gambling, which requires official forms of identification such as a driver's licence or passport.

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The Social Policy and Legal Affairs Committee, chaired by MP Andrew Wallace, has announced it is opening up an inquiry into the discrepancy between age verification on 18+ restricted sites such as online gambling and pornography.

It will look at how well the existing online gambling age verification process works and consider whether it could apply to pornography sites viewed by Australians.

"While customers must verify their age within 14 days to continue using an online wagering account, an age verification process is not required at all for customers to access online pornography," MP Wallace said.

"This is concerning, as research shows that accessing pornography negatively influences young peoples' attitudes to sex, sexuality and relationships."

Online gambling is regulated in Australia with many examples such as online slot machines and scratchies being illegal under Interactive Gambling Act 2001. Other forms, such as betting on animal races, sporting matches and other cultural events, are allowed through verificaed vendors such as TAB and Sportsbet. In order to access those sites, however, you need to prove you're the legal age, 18, or over.

To open a TAB account, for example, you'll require an Australian Driver Licence, a passport, a Citizenship Certificate or another form of official identifcation. Similarly with Sportsbet, you'll need to fill out a form and provide scans of multiple forms of official ID.

That's what's going to be looked into to see if it can be applied to the viewing of sexually graphic content.

In the UK, age verification laws for pornography have been considered for years and were finally put into law with the Digital Economy Act which was due to come into effect from July 2019.

It's facing delays due to the enormity of its implementation but essentially, the British Board of Film Classification will be responsible for ensuring websites hosting explicit adult content have a G-rated static page until the user verifies their age. Website are allowed to determine how they verify ages from a number of methods, which all require some form of identification or a mobile phone number. Reddit, Twitter and Imgur are excluded from the act when it finally comes into effect.

Submissions can be made to the inquiry until October 25. Visit the Committee's website for more details.

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[Via MediaNet]

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