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UK adults could buy 'porn passes' to view adult content online

With new age verification laws due to come into effect in the UK later this year, regulators are exploring different options to ensure porn is viewed only by adults.

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The UK's porn laws are getting stricter.

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Adults in the UK who want to view porn online may have the option to buy a porn pass to verify that they're over the age 18, regulators have suggested.

The 16-digit passes would be available for £10 from newsagents and corner shops, and could also potentially be used to buy other age-restricted products such as alcohol, tobacco and knives, according to a report in the Telegraph on Sunday. To purchase a pass, buyers would have to present a passport or driving license to prove they are over 18.

The passes are being discussed by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) as one potential solution to new laws due to come into effect later this year, which will force all porn sites available in the UK to enforce age checks to ensure viewers are over the age of 18. It serves as an alternative, more anonymous option to online age-verification services that could potentially result in the creation of digital records on individuals' porn-viewing habits.

The government had previously set a deadline of April for the checks to be in place, but in March, it said it now expects the law "will be enforceable by the end of the year." Porn sites that don't enforce age checks face being blocked by their ISPs and fined up to £250,000 ($350,000).

The BBFC, which was designated as the age-verification regulator in February and is currently consulting on the precise arrangements for how it should be carried out, did not respond to request for comment.

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