Should conservatives in the UK emerge victorious in the country’s upcoming general election, watching pornography may soon become a more difficult endeavor.

According to a recent report in The Guardian, conservatives are hoping to implement more rigorous age-verification restrictions on pornographic websites in an effort to stem the growing percentage of young teens who routinely access adult content online.

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A Facebook post on the matter from the Conservatives political party reads in part:

So today we are announcing that, if the Conservatives win the next General Election, we will legislate to put online hard-core pornography behind effective age verification controls.

Of course adults should be perfectly free to look at these sites. But if websites showing adult content don’t have proper age controls in place – ones that will stop children looking at this kind of material – they should and will be blocked altogether. No sex shop on the high street would be allowed to remain open if it knowingly sold pornography to underage customers, and there is no reason why the internet should be any different.

While internet service providers out of the UK already provide broadband subscribers with the ability to filter out pornographic websites during the installation process, conservative lawmakers want to add on an additional layer of protection.

The Guardian writes:

The Conservatives want to take filtering one stage further and force adult content sites to verify age beyond the simple “I am 18 or older” age gates that do not force users to prove that they are as old as they say they are.

Any site that does not comply with the age verification restrictions will be blocked from the internet by ISPs in the UK.

No one would argue that blocking adult content from minors is a bad thing, but it’s worth noting that actually enacting such a system is rife with practical roadblocks.

For instance, if age-verification is accomplished via credit cards, there would be a tangible link between individual users and their private viewing habits.

Conservatives championing stricter controls have posited that independent regulators might work together with websites to carry out the initiative. Websites that don’t adhere to whatever age-verification mechanisms are implemented may then be blocked from UK ISPs.

The Conservatives further add on Facebook:

An independent regulator will oversee this new system. It will determine, in conjunction with websites, how age verification controls will work and how websites that do not put them in place will be blocked.

All that said, the most fundamental problem with any initiative is actually finding a way to enforce it in an effective manner given the lengths individuals will go to skirt around any hurdles.

As The Guardian notes, similar efforts to block controversial websites “has shown that users are willing to use virtual private networks, proxies and other technologies to easily route around the blockade.”

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