On July 15, the British law on mandatory age verification for pornographic content online comes into force. The implementation requires the use of a sophisticated verification system whose providers would play a central role in the porn business. The biggest beneficiary? Probably the Canadian industry giant MindGeek.
With the introduction of an obligatory age check for adult entertainment companies on the Internet, Great Britain wants to become a pioneer in the protection of minors. To carry out the check, the British have devised a system in which users have to register with a provider with their ID cards, an unpleasant and time-consuming procedure which forces users to entrust potentially sensitive data including real names and addresses to the respective test system in a sensitive area of their privacy.
BBFC monitors enforcement of proof of age
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) will be responsible for enforcing this requirement. There will be a transition period from July 15 onwards. Providers, therefore, have a certain amount of time to implement the necessary technology.
Via a website called Ageverificationregulationer.com, the BBFC intends to provide information about the different software solutions and providers. It seems quite probable that users will favor those providers in particular who take care of the verification for as many adult offerings as possible so that they do not have to do it several times.
It looks as if this factor of all things will provide an additional advantage for a disruptive market participant. AgeID, the MindGeek Group’s solution, was developed years ago and provides users after a one-time registration and proof of age with cross-platform access to the group’s own tube sites Pornhub, Redtube, YouPorn, the XXX games platform Nutaku and, among other things, the contents of the studios Brazzers, Digital Playground and Reality Kings and many more.
Will AgeID’s competitive edge lead to a monopoly?
It is already clear that AgeID will give users access to thousands of sites with a single registration. Since MindGeek’s own portals are among the most popular porn offerings in the world, user convenience should ensure that AgeID becomes the market leader from the very beginning. As a result, the Canadian parent company will receive a vast amount of data and at least potentially be able to bring together the porn habits of all Britons with names and payment details.
It is therefore hardly surprising that MindGeek appears to have been a strong supporter of the British solution and, according to the Open Rights Group, was in close contact with government officials before the law was passed. The data protection association, through its spokesman Jim Killock, declared: »In the name of child protection, the government has given a massive leg up to an enormous pornography company to have a monopoly on age verification in the U.K.« In a typically British way, Killock adds dryly: »That’s quite a surprising outcome.«