The UK is reportedly moving towards an age verification system for the internet that would form part of Conservative plans to filter and control content and access.
A report in The Guardian said that a Post Office-controlled personal identification system would be used to allow access to parts of the internet deemed unsuitable for children.
This would be part of larger moves by the government, which include plans for default filtering and a strengthening of takedown powers.
The report explained that meetings driven by the pornography industry have taken place with the government relating to advice from the non-partisan UK Digital Policy Alliance (DPA).
The DPA said in a press release in April that "it is time to get serious about age verification", explaining that its Age Verification Working Group did not feel that parents could be relied on to keep the young away from inappropriate content.
A New Age of Censorship. The UK adult trade is expecting a new law requiring age verification... http://t.co/itZ2SYhEbL— Melon Farmers (@melonfarmers) May 27, 2015
DPA chairman and independent crossbench peer Lord Erroll said: "Education is, of course, most of the answer, but internet service providers also need to take age verification much more seriously.
"Most of the industries subject to penalties if they do not check the ages of their customers have come together to try to do just that.
"The working group already brings together representatives of the online gambling, adult entertainment, tobacco, dating and vaping [e-cigarettes] industries, and aims to engage with the alcohol industry and educational network operators, as well as with those concerned with child protection, silver surfers, social inclusion and, of course, crime prevention."
The DPA said that age verification works with services like the provision of bus passes, and that there is no reason why it should not apply to the internet.
Dr Rachel O'Connell, a safety expert who has advised the DPA, told The Guardian that no new databases would be created, which might alleviate privacy fears, and that the system would use already available information.
"Nobody in the UK wants a centralised identity database," she said. "The way around that is that Royal Mail knows who you are, your mobile operator knows who you are."
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