Strong privacy is a must for age verification tech

Posted at 15:23 on 18 Apr 2018 by Pandora / Blake

Tags: age verification, BBFC, Digital Economy Act, Open Rights Group, privacy

Open Rights Group

The Open Rights Group are urging people to respond to the BBFC public consultation on their age verification guidelines.

The Government is about to require all UK internet users to verify they are over 18 to be able to view pornography. This will likely require users to use documents like a passport, credit card, or driving license to prove their age to the site.

Ensuring children and young people are protected, educated and given parental care is vital, however we have grave concerns about the apparent reliance on age verification (AV) to achieve this, and the technology itself. Despite the dangers that AV poses to user privacy, the Government has not set rigorous privacy standards. In fact, the BBFC - the regulator the Government have appointed - will have no power to set strong privacy standards whatsoever.

The BBFC is holding a call for public views until April 23rd - this coming Monday. Please help us by responding, and telling the Government that strong privacy requirements for AV tools are essential!

When drafting the Digital Economy Act (DEAct), the Government simply chose not to mention privacy much at all and leave the design of AV tools to the market. It is very likely that large companies will use this ability to collect highly sensitive records of the public’s porn watching habits. This is data that can be abused, sold, or hacked. By not issuing clear guidelines the Government can blame the private sector for any data breaches that occur. The Government must take responsibility for protecting the public’s privacy.

The language of the DEAct fails to take privacy concerns seriously. By demanding the Government or the BBFC make strict privacy guidelines a priority for AV tools before they are implemented at the end of the year, we have a chance to make up for the law’s shortcoming.

Change is in the air. The Cambridge Analytica scandal has left privacy at the forefront of the minds of the public, and of MPs. Write to the BBFC today and tell them that privacy must be built into AV tools.

(Source: Open Rights Group)

Visit the ORG website for some bullet points which you can use when writing your message, and an easy web form to help you submit your response to the BBFC.

You may also find the website Stop Age Verification a useful resource - it is packed with handy information to help you craft your response.

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