As Age Checks Loom, Questions Over Possible Data Breaches Remain

As Age Checks Loom, Questions Over Possible Data Breaches Remain

LONDON — U.K. industry attorney Myles Jackman was short and to the point: "If the age verification process continues in its current fashion, it's a once-in-a-lifetime treasure trove of private information."

Jackman was commenting for a BBC news piece on the fear of data breaches when the U.K. government makes the Digital Economy Act’s porn provisions live in April. Under the impending law, porn sites must verify the age of visitors.

Jackman, known in London as the “obscenity lawyer” and to many in tech circles as the legal director of  internet policy organization Open Rights Group, said he was concerned with privacy and security aspects of the looming regulations.

"If it gets hacked, can British citizens ever trust the government again with their data?” Jackman asked bluntly.

Jackman told the BBC that the new reg would drive more users to VPNs or the anonymous web browser Tor.

"It is brutally ironic that when the government is trying to break all encryption in order to combat extremism, it is now forcing people to turn towards the dark web," Jackman said.

The BBC article also spoke with David Austin, the chief executive of the British Board of Film Classification, which is the regulator tasked with implementing age-verification rules.

"There are a range of methods for verifying whether someone is 18 or over, and we expect to see a number of solutions offered by providers to give people different ways to verify their age," Austin said.

MindGeek’s AgeID age-check product was also featured in the BBC article. AgeID’s system will not permanently store any personal information, but it will provide users with a secure login for all future access. The product debuted yesterday.

Pictured: Attorney Myles Jackman