AI Has Become Your Safe Hub

A new age verification check was proposed in England's AI safety act to protect underage children from accessing pornography websites.

Is AI Judging Young Users for Watching Porn?

On Tuesday, a new age verification check was proposed in England through the online safety act, to protect underage children from accessing pornography websites. This led to the use of AI technology to ensure the user is of legal age.

The Online Safety Act was passed by the government. It is required by applications and sites that generate pornographic content or images. In Britain, the legal age to watch porn is 18 and above.

Children as young as 9 to 11 years of age begin to discover porn online, according to a study done by the Office of the Children’s Commission in England in 2021-2022.

Melanie Dawes, CEO of Ofcom, stated, “Regardless of their approach, we expect all services to offer robust protection to children from stumbling across pornography, and also to take care that privacy rights and freedoms for adults to access legal content are safeguarded.”

The regulator proposed a new set of suggestions, which includes facial recognition upon the website’s use. Facial age estimation is an application of artificial intelligence (AI) that analyzes the features of a viewer, requiring them to take and upload a selfie.

The watchdog added that credit card checks and photo identification matching—which requires a user to upload a photo ID, like a passport or driver’s license, to prove their age—were also included in its proposed guidelines.

Open banking was another idea, where customers could agree to their bank exchanging information with online porn sites to verify they are at least eighteen.

According to the free market think tank Institute of Economic Affairs, mandatory age verification would increase the amount of sensitive data held by third parties, endangering user privacy and leaving users vulnerable to abuse.

Weaker techniques, such as self-declaration of age, online payment methods that don’t require identification, and disclaimers or warnings, won’t be able to meet the requirements of the regulator’s new guidance, it said.

Ofcom plans to release its final guidance initially in 2025.

Inside Telecom provides you with an extensive list of content covering all aspects of the tech industry. Keep an eye on our Intelligent Tech sections to stay informed and up-to-date with our daily articles.