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Free porn sites like RedTube could soon be made illegal in the UK

Free porn sites including RedTube and YouPorn could be banned in the UK, if adult content providers don’t sign up to new regulations. 

Sites based in the UK and abroad could be asked to voluntarily implement robust age-verification systems that are more effective than the current ‘click to enter if 18 or older’ pop-up windows. 

Content providers that fail to comply could face legal action if it’s made it an offence in the UK to publish pornography online without age-related restrictions. 

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Our one nation government is working hard to make the internet a safer place for children, the next step in this campaign is to curb access to harmful pornographic content which is currently far too widely available. 

“I want to see age restrictions put into place or these websites will face being shut down.”

Streaming sites based in the UK are currently regulated by ATVOD (Authority for Television On Demand), which has been pushing for adult content providers to up their game since 2013. 

Right now, all pornography providers are required to do is make sure there’s a splash page asking users to ensure they’re aged 18 or older before entering. 

For obvious reasons, this isn’t a terribly effective deterrence to anyone of any age who wants to look at pornography. ATVOD has been pushing for a system which requires legitimate porn users to supply proof that they’re over 18 – either by confirming electoral roll information, bank details or credit references. 

The regulator has also been calling for credit card payments from British customers to sites that aren’t based in the UK – and subsequently beyond ATVOD’s jurisdiction – blocked. 

The biggest adult tube sites on the web – RedTube, YouPorn, GayTube, PornHub – are all owned by MindGeek, a tech company based in Luxembourg. 

An industry consultation will be launched this autumn to work on proposals to block content through credit card payments and ‘other means’. 

Parental internet controls put in place by the UK’s leading ISPs, at the behest of the previous administration, mean that access to adult content is blocked by default. While these network-level filters are applied to all devices in a subscriber’s home, they can be easily circumvented by VPNs and aren’t always 100 per cent effective. 

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