Artificial intelligence-powered face scanning technology may soon become a mandatory feature of adult-only websites, as regulators want to prevent minors from accessing pornography.
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The UK’s Office of Communications (Ofcom) has released a press release that explains that it’s making moves to enforce the UK’s legal age to watch porn (18 years old), and a new way to make sure pornography websites are being accessed by users of the legal age the regulator will soon be enforcing all apps and sites displaying adult-only content to implement a new “age assurance” systems that verify the age of users.
If a site or app doesn’t “ensure that children are not normally able to encounter pornography on their service,” they are at risk of fines. Out with the old, in with the new. Ofcom writes that any technology such as “self-declaration of age,” online payment that’s accessible to minors, and “general terms, disclaimers or warnings” would no longer prevent adult sites from receiving penalties.
Furthermore, Ofcom states that under its new guidance, it would only accept age verification technology that it “currently” considers “highly effective“. Examples of highly effective technology are as follows: requiring users to share a photo ID, banking information, credit card information, digital ID wallets, mobile network operator age verification, and “facial age estimation,” which Ofcom writes is a new feature that is able to “estimate” a users age.
It should be noted that Ofcom writes that if “facial age estimation” proves to not be “highly effective,” it will decide against it and remove it.