“Porn ban” age verification software test goes without hitch

Mark Johnson's picture

The largest mainstream test of an online age verification system since the announcement of the UK’s “porn ban” took place last night, and has been feted as a huge success.

Digital age gates were placed on “I Want Fourplay,” an adult film created during Channel 4’s shooting of the documentary “Mums Make Porn.” 

The film was directed by five mothers who sought to draw attention to the negative impact that easy-access pornography has on children’s mental wellbeing.

The three-part show had over 850,000 viewers in the UK, with the film available to watch after the final episode last night (3rd April 2019.)

Test pre-empts new "porn ban" law

Viewers were required to authenticate their age as over-18; something that will be mandatory once age verification legislation is implemented under the Digital Economy Act later this year. The process was supported by leading age verification software provider, AgeChecked.

Fourplay: Test got going after Channel 4 aired 'Mums Make Porn' show

The system worked by age-verifying customers through a driving licence, credit card or mobile phone - the latter of which emerged as by far the most popular method of verification. 

It then provided them with a unique username and password. The external film website only received a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ message - nothing more – whilst users that did not meet the age requirements were denied entry.

AgeChecked’s software, which has been subject to rigorous testing for a number of years, never stores personal information on its users and credentials are anonymised, so personal data cannot be passed on to the adult website in question – or indeed anyone.

“I Want Fourplay” was made in collaboration with Erika Lust, which is renowned for being a responsible and ethical adult organisation. 

This was further highlighted by the filmmaker’s decision to implement age verification from overseas (the company is based in Barcelona) despite not yet being required to by law.

First mainstream test

“The results of this first mainstream test of our software were hugely encouraging”, said Alastair Graham, CEO of AgeChecked.

“Whilst an effective date for the new legislation’s implementation is yet to be confirmed by the British Board of Film Classification, this suggests a clear preparedness to offer robust, secure age verification procedures to the adult industry’s 24-30 million UK users.

“It also highlights that customers are willing to participate in the process when they know that they are being verified by a secure provider, with whom their identity is fully protected.

“The popularity of mobile phone verification was interesting and presumably due the simplicity of using this device. This is something that we foresee as being a key part of this process moving forward.”

Rudd Apsey, a spokesman for the Age Verification Providers Association (AVPA) said: “There have been a number of negative stories lately about the so-called ‘porn ban’ in the UK. 

“This test demonstrates that the age verification measures required under the Digital Economy Act can be successfully applied to adult websites without issue – verification of adults can be quick and anonymous. It is worth remembering that the goal of this legislation is to protect young kids from stumbling across adult content - the UK is leading the world in the introduction of online child protection measures.”

Welcome to Prolific London

Get all the latest media, marketing, technology and creative news for the capital