You’ll need ID to visit porn sites soon under strict new UK online laws

Porn sites and those featuring adult content will soon force UK users to prove their age under controversial new government plans.

New online safety rules will force porn sites to check people's age using credit cards or government data, to ensure children and teens aren't accessing explicit content.

Porn sites could be blocked in the UK or fined millions of pounds if they don't comply with the new rules, which were announced by the government this week.

However, the proposals have proved controversial amid fears that it could be used to track users' porn habits.

While the government has insisted the measures should not involve storing data that isn't relevant to someone's age, sites like Pornhub already use sophisticated algorithms and data tracking to keep tabs on their users' viewing habits.

Part of the rationale for the laws is to protect children online by extending previous age checks to all commercial porn sites.

Digital minister Chris Philp said: “It is too easy for children to access pornography online. Parents deserve peace of mind that their children are protected online from seeing things no child should see,

“We are now strengthening the Online Safety Bill so it applies to all porn sites to ensure we achieve our aim of making the internet a safer place for children.”

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According to a survey by City University of London, an estimated four out of five 16- and 17-year olds in the UK have seen pornography online, with 63 percent seeing it on social media platforms rather than dedicated porn sites.

However, Andy Burrows, head of child safety online policy at the NSPCC, said that the measures don't go far enough.

“It’s right the government has listened to calls to fix one of the gaps in the Online Safety Bill and protect children from pornography wherever it’s hosted."

He added: “But the legislation still falls short of giving children comprehensive protection from preventable abuse and harmful content and needs significant strengthening to match the government’s rhetoric and focus minds at the very top of tech companies on child safety.”

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