Age Verification Could Be Back on the Cards for Australian Porn Users

Age Verification Could Be Back on the Cards for Australian Porn Users
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A new law could be introduced this year that would require your age to be verified before you can look at pornographic content. The idea of age verification to watch porn is definitely a decisive one, but we’ve also had this conversation before.

Currently, there’s a trial in place to verify age before buying booze online and before engaging in any sort of gambling activity. It is believed the idea is to expand this age verification to porn, well, anything deemed ‘sexually explicit content’.

According to a report from The Canberra Times, the Office of the eSafety Commissioner is developing a roadmap to implement age verification for online pornographic sites. They reckon it could be presented to the government by the end of the year.

Documents released to The Canberra Times under Freedom of Information reportedly reveal eSafety is considering teaming up with the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) on trials using government identification as it “explores different methods to stop those under the minimum age from accessing online pornography”.

The Australian government was looking at introducing some sort of protective capability to prevent those that are underage from viewing pornography a few years ago. At the time, eSafety said there is no “out of the box technology solutions” that will solve this issue and therefore believes age verification should not be seen as a panacea.

“Technical interventions will never be able to completely eliminate the risk of children being exposed to online pornography, and it will certainly not prepare children to interpret and understand online pornography once they reach adulthood,” eSafety wrote in a submission [PDF] to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs’ inquiry into the matter – back in November 2019.

The federal government then resurfaced this age verification for porn conversation in June last year. Not because it had any fresh ideas, rather it took that long for the government to respond to a report on the issue the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs’ published in February 2020.

That report made a total of six recommendations, such as asking the DTA to extend its digital identity program to include an age verification exchange for the purpose of third-party online age verification. In response to the recommendation, the government said it supported it.

The DTA said back in November 2019 its Digital Identity solution would be perfect for porn age verification (even though researchers want that whole thing thrown out and redone). So it’s unsurprising the debate is resurfacing, hopefully this time in a better fashion.