What is the porn block?
The porn block refers to rules about pornography access in the UK. These are part of the ‘Digital Economy Act 2017’.
This website will serve as a reminder of this failure. It will remain dormant until similar rules are inevitably revived.
Websites containing pornographic content will be required to verify that consumers are over 18 years of age. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are tasked with blocking porn websites that do not adequately do this.
Wired UK has said the ‘UK's porn block is one of the worst ideas ever’:
‘Pornography is the canary in the coal mine of free speech: it is the first freedom to die’ - Myles Jackman.
Consumers will be asked to verify their age using a variety of options.
- Driving license or passport photo. Avoid this method since these documents reveal unnecessary personal detail.
- Credit card. Credit card companies openly sell your data.
- Purchase a £4.99 adult-only porn-pass available at a newsagent.
The newsagent method will require the installation of the Portes status verification app. There is no guarantee that every porn site will accept the cards.
Standard, consensual porn is not illegal. The porn block age verification process will drive a legal past time underground.
When does it kick in?
Privacy concerns and Brexit fallout have previously delayed activation.
Activation was scheduled for July 15th 2019, but is now postponed indefinitely due to legal issues with the European commission.
How to get around the porn block 😆
VPN stands for ‘Virtual Private Network’. It hides your internet traffic from your service provider so that they can't filter it.
VPN software also allows you to make your connection look like it comes from another country. Since the UK is one of the few countries to have implemented a porn block, this is very useful.
Check out Wired UK's VPN list for more recommendations.
Using a VPN is less expensive and more private than paying for age verification.
There are free VPN's out there. Unfortunately they often make their money from a variation of selling tracked advertising or your browsing data.
Do not use VPNhub. It is operated by MindGeek who own Pornhub and run the AgeID system.
If you cannot pay for a VPN, CloudFlare's 18.104.22.168 service with free Warp VPN functionality is a reputable option.
The UK government has kindly provided the porn watching population an opportunity to learn about VPNs and in doing so, enhance their Internet privacy.
There are many privacy relevant reasons why you would go the VPN route instead of the official age verification options.
The official option lets porn sites, the government, credit card companies (which sell data on) and more identify you as a porn consumer.
Data leaks could be very embarassing. Would the disclosure of your porn usage or sexual preferences affect your professional life? How about your personal relationships?
The age verification process potentially gives a lot of data to a third party. Collecting user data is incredibly valuable and frequently used (or sold) for potentially nefarious purposes.