GDPR

UK ‘porn block’: everything you need to know

The UK ‘porn block’ is coming into effect on July 15. After this date, all UK-based internet users will have to confirm that they are 18 or older to access adult entertainment sites. Given that Pornhub alone received 33.5 billion visits in 2018, with the UK providing the second-most users after the United States, the coming…


The UK ‘porn block’ is coming into effect on July 15. After this date, all UK-based internet users will have to confirm that they are 18 or older to access adult entertainment sites. 

Given that Pornhub alone received 33.5 billion visits in 2018, with the UK providing the second-most users after the United States, the coming age-verification filter is likely to affect a huge number of people in the UK.

While it’s often called the ‘UK porn block’ that name is not entirely accurate. The age verification law is, in reality, part of section 25 of theDigital Economy Act, which has a number of sections relating to online legislation. 

The process works like this: once July 15 2019 arrives, adult websites will need to show a splash screen to UK users when they arrive on the site. This interstitial screen must contain no adult material at all and should inform visitors that they must prove they are over 18 years old in order to continue.

If a user is able to use an approved age verification system then they’ll enter these details, which will likely be a non-identifying username and password. If they don’t have these details then the site might explain how to get them, but you won’t be able to access the site without providing them…or that’s the idea.

All adult sites, whether hosted or based in the UK or not, will need to support this. Sites which don’t support it may face a fine or be blocked in the UK entirely (or both). Eventually, when the scheme has been running for a couple of months, users will be able to report non-compliant sites. 

The British Board of Film Classification has been chosen to administer the scheme. It won’t provide age ID checks itself but it will approve providers who do. It will be responsible for fining non-compliant sites and, if needed, requesting ISPs block those which don’t verify age adequately.

The stated goal of the UK ‘porn block’ is to protect children. The UK government says that young people are too easily able to see hardcore adult video and there is a need to protect them from stumbling across it by accident. You won’t find many people who disagree with that sentiment.

However, the result will be that all consenting adults will need to jump through hoops to prove that they are old enough to access things they’re legally entitled to.

As with most things like this there’s a very good chance a lot of people won’t know how this will affect them, so expect to see some confused and frustrated people wandering the streets on July 15.

The UK porn block is designed to keep children safer online but there are still many risks (Image credit: Shutterstock)

The UK porn block is designed to keep children safer online but there are still many risks (Image credit: Shutterstock)

(Image: © Shutterstock)

When is the UK ‘porn block’ coming, and how will it work?

We know that from July 15 anyone using a website featuring content unsuitable for minors in the UK will be asked to verify their age. 

To do so users over 18 will need to provide proof that they are old enough to access age restricted sites. The verification can be done online or in a shop where a pass can be purchased that confirms the holder is aged 18 or over. 

The burden of proof in a shop is likely to be somewhat lighter than online. While you may be asked for photo ID, say a passport or driving licence, many shopkeepers will simply apply the common sense rules they currently rely on. If someone looks over 18 they probably won’t be challenged to produce ID. 

From this perspective the shop-based approach might seem more of a privacy concern. People seeking adult content could pop into a shop anywhere in the UK and buy their pass, creating the potential embarrassment of someone they know spotting them. 

Online it’s arguable that the process is more anonymous, but you will need to prove your age by uploading some form of identification. The main provider of age checking for this new legislation, AgeID claims that it won’t retain any personal information, with the site claiming that it sends your data to a third party which it then queries to verify age… and you’ll be able to choose your provider.

Once your ID and password are provided you’ll be free to log in to any age restricted site and personal information should never be exchanged. The question still remains, however, about how secure uploading an image of your passport or driving licence actually is. 

We may see different forms of age verification appear too. One natural way to do this would be for mobile networks to issue IDs to users. These companies already know and have verified your age in many cases, so issuing identification should be simple.

What are the ways someone can verify their age?

This is where things take a turn for the downright shady. Firstly, at the time of this article’s first publication in May 2019, the BBFC is listing exactly zero approved age verification systems. 

However we know there are a couple of different options that will likely be part of the approved list and this is where it starts to get a bit concerning from a privacy perspective. 

The main verification technology is called AgeID and is run by a company called Mindgeek. Looking at Mindgeek’s website you could be forgiven for assuming that this is some sort of internet security firm. It’s not. At all. 

It’s the umbrella brand behind some of the biggest adult websites in the world. Mindgeek runs PornHub, RedTube and YouPorn. It also owns content creators and provides payment and monetisation services to other producers of erotic content.

AgeID will be an online system and visitors to adult websites will need to verify their age by uploading proof that they are old enough. 

The alternative, the PortesCard, will be purchased in shops where the vendor will confirm your age. The card contains a code which is valid for 24 hours after it is purchased. A companion app for mobile will enable you to turn that code into an AgeID and to log in. 

Two kinds of PortesCard are for sale, one for a single device and another for multiple devices. There is, of course, some concern that kids will share AgeID accounts with each other, meaning that if one gets hold of a PortesCard then they will give access to others. Some security will be implemented to prevent this but it’s unlikely it will be entirely effective.

The hassles and worries of both of these systems is just one of the reasons we expect many people to turn to VPN services instead.

So, can you use a VPN to sidestep the porn block? 

Yes, it’s a cast iron certainty that search terms such as ‘best VPN for porn’ will skyrocket in the UK the day the block comes into effect. Being able to skirt around geolo

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GDPR

How to fix the broken sales funnel

Business agility and the ability to respond fast to new sales opportunities has never been more important and a strong, intelligence-led sales model is essential to maximise opportunities. Yet in this post GDPR era, sales models have never been weaker or less efficient. A lack of data confidence is undermining outbound activity, leaving companies reliant…


Business agility and the ability to respond fast to new sales opportunities has never been more important and a strong, intelligence-led sales model is essential to maximise opportunities. Yet in this post GDPR era, sales models have never been weaker or less efficient. A lack of data confidence is undermining outbound activity, leaving companies reliant on increasingly expensive inbound campaigns that are not delivering.

To fix the broken sales funnel, organisations clearly need to use to fresh, accurate and GDPR compliant data. But that is just the start: successful sales activity is underpinned by a scientific, structured and metrics driven approach that leverages multi-dimensional real-time data.

  • Ensure data integrity by turning CRM usage into a game
  • Choosing the right data security solution for big data environments
  • Building reliable data pipelines with AI and DataOps

Science not art

Fewer good prospects. Delayed decision making. Ever lengthening sales cycles. A lack of predictability in the sales process. For many companies, the sales funnel is looking less than impressive. Yet while the temptation is to blame new restrictions of data privacy created by GDPR on the other, there is little value in playing the blame game. What companies require is a solution.

Where is the sales funnel broken and how can it be fixed? Understanding the ‘where’ is key – and something that far too many companies fail to address. How many good sales-people have been fired, when the problem was poor data? How much time has been wasted on prioritising the wrong prospects or failing to correctly identify the total addressable market?

A broken sales funnel cannot be repaired just by adding technology, replacing sal

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GDPR

What’s been done for data privacy since GDPR?

This year, privacy continues to be the most important aspect of data management as an increasing number of consumers are growing concerned about their privacy and the security of their personal information. According to research from the Global Web Index, 51% of European respondents are concerned about the Internet eroding their personal privacy and 60% worry…


This year, privacy continues to be the most important aspect of data management as an increasing number of consumers are growing concerned about their privacy and the security of their personal information. 

According to research from the Global Web Index, 51% of European respondents are concerned about the Internet eroding their personal privacy and 60% worry about how their personal information is being used by companies. In the US, these figures rise to 62% and 65% respectively. While in Europe GDPR was introduced to protect consumers’ privacy and safeguard their data, it also seems to have increased awareness of the misuse of data. People now realise the importance and value of their personal information and, as a result, are demanding greater control over their information and increasingly becoming unwilling to give up that information.

While organisations already put processes in place to drive compliance with GDPR, those organisations must recognise and acknowledge this consumer trend and continue to enhance their processes and policies to sustain a data privacy program and ensure the proper protections and safeguards. Failing to do so could result in dire consequences, not only in terms of fines from regulatory agencies, but also failing to protect privacy and safeguard personal information, even slightly, could cost them the trust of their customers. 

  • Why data privacy without data visibility doesn’t cut it for GDPR
  • Ten tips for GDPR compliance
  • GDPR Subject Access Request: authentication cannot be an afterthought

Additionally, as companies come to grips with the privacy and security issues relating to personal information, the concept of information ethics is coming to the fore. So, what are businesses doing in order to provide for continuous improvement around the issue of privacy? And what does information ethics mean for data privacy?

Image credit: Shutterstock 

Image credit: Shutterstock 

(Image: © Wright Studio / Shutterstock)

Creating new roles

As businesses start to understand the idea of information ethics being a major corollary to data privacy and security, more and more organisations begin to look not only at what they could do with data but what they should do with data. And this should is not from the perspect

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GDPR

The unintended consequences of emerging compliance regulations

Online data is more prevalent and valuable than ever before, for consumers, businesses and fraudsters alike. While the ability to do anything, from anywhere has its benefits, including convenience and constant connectivity, there’s also a dark side: criminals waiting to exploit your most personal, sensitive information. In fact, the total number of personal records exposed…


Online data is more prevalent and valuable than ever before, for consumers, businesses and fraudsters alike. While the ability to do anything, from anywhere has its benefits, including convenience and constant connectivity, there’s also a dark side: criminals waiting to exploit your most personal, sensitive information. In fact, the total number of personal records exposed in data breaches more than doubled over 2018, compared to 2017. 

The value of data has led to new legislation intended to protect information shared and stored online. Europe’s GDPR became binding in May 2018, and a variant in California is slated to become effective in 2020, complicating matters for companies that limited their European data presence in hopes of avoiding GDPR. In addition, the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2), intended to democratize access to data and simultaneously protect it through Strong Customer Authentication (SCA), will come into effect in Europe in September 2019.

  • Why it’s high time we regulated Big Tech
  • The GDPR paradox: how data regulation creates revenue streams
  • Google fined €50m by French data regulator

A closer look at the unintended consequences

Perversely, both GDPR and PSD2, which were created to protect customers and their data, actually introduce new risks and complications for businesses operating online.

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GDPR

AI’s memory is perfect for insight into collective behaviour

AI was never intended to give insights into collective behaviour, yet it’s becoming an increasingly efficient method of doing so. In an age of the GDPR fearful, collective behaviour is the way forward to understanding consumer preferences and AI’s memory of data allows this to happen without jeopardising individual behaviour. Three ways CIOs can successfully scale AITrump…


AI was never intended to give insights into collective behaviour, yet it’s becoming an increasingly efficient method of doing so. 

In an age of the GDPR fearful, collective behaviour is the way forward to understanding consumer preferences and AI’s memory of data allows this to happen without jeopardising individual behaviour. 

  • Three ways CIOs can successfully scale AI
  • Trump administration orders research into AI
  • Three quarters of smartphones will have AI chip by 2022

Early beginnings

Alan Turing was recently named as the most ‘iconic’ figure of the 20th century. Perhaps this is because of the explosive interest and power that artificial intelligence is set to have on our world in the near future. 

He was a mathematician who cracked codes during World War II and praised with shortening the war by several years due to his work at Bletchley Park. Here, he was tasked with cracking the ‘Enigma’ code and, with another code-breaker, invented a machine known as the Bombe which has had a huge influence on the development of computer science and artificial intelligence.

Turing suggested that humans use available information as well as reason in order to solve problems and make decisions, so machines should, in theory, be able to do the same. This was the logical framework of his 1950 paper, Computing Machinery and Intelligence, in which he discusses how to build intelligent machines and how to test their intelligence.

After a conference in 1956 where, what is considered by many, to be the first AI programme was presented, a flurry of interest in AI ensued. Computers could store more information and became faster, cheaper, and more accessible. Machine learning algorithms improved and people got better at knowing which algorithm to apply to their problem. However, a mountain of

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