UK porn block: xHamster survey shows ‘Sexit’ Brits will refuse to comply

Sam Webb

Brits will ‘Sexit’ by refusing to comply with the UK’s looming porn block, according to a survey of users of porn website xHamster. In April, porn websites will be blocked by UK internet providers and users will have to verify their age using a driver’s licence, passport, or credit card to access X-rated content – a move many see as both ineffective and an attack on privacy. A survey of over 26,000 UK xHamster visitors shows a lack of awareness of the impending regulations and that a majority will instead use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or other workarounds in order to avoid entering personal data. A VPN hides the websites surfers visit and even the country they live in,

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Brits will ‘Sexit’ by refusing to comply with the UK’s looming porn block, according to a survey of users of porn website xHamster.

In April, porn websites will be blocked by UK internet providers and users will have to verify their age using a driver’s licence, passport, or credit card to access X-rated content – a move many see as both ineffective and an attack on privacy.

A survey of over 26,000 UK xHamster visitors shows a lack of awareness of the impending regulations and that a majority will instead use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or other workarounds in order to avoid entering personal data.

A VPN hides the websites surfers visit and even the country they live in, rendering the age check useless.

And using anonymous cryptocurrency to buy a VPN can add an extra, virtually impenetrable level of privacy. It can even protect users from ‘sextortionist’ hackers.

The survey also found almost half (47.4%) of respondents were not aware of the regulations, and fewer than 40% plan on complying.

Data privacy concerns (74.7%) and government intrusion (63.5%) top the list of issues.

Only 4% believe the regulations will be completely effective. Nearly 60% say they will not be effective.

‘Sexit’ looming

Alex Hawkins, Vice President of xHamster, which is complying with the regulations, said: “A majority of respondents said that, given the option of a VPN or offline, non-age-verified material, they’d go around the system — a ‘Sexit’, in which vast numbers of adult content users either abandon regulated sites or use a VPN to avoid detection by British authorities.”

The Digital Economy Act 2017 is an attempt to prevent kids from seeing inappropriate content, but it has been slammed as ineffective and even dangerous.

“We support efforts to limit access to adult material by under 18s, and we will be complying with the UK regulations,” Hawkins added.

“However, the data seems to show that a vast majority of porn users will abandon the UK regulations, either by leaving UK internet space or by abandoning online content altogether.

“Such a ‘Sexit’ of nearly 60% of current adult content consumers has major implications, not just for adult sites, but for the BBFC, which has designed the regulations.”

The government’s own impact assessment found that: “Adults (and some children) may be pushed towards using ToR (a platform for accessing the dark web) and related systems to avoid age verification, where they could be exposed to illegal and extreme material that they otherwise would never have come into contact with.”

The Open Rights Group has previously warned the Digital Economy Act could lead to porn companies being required to create a database of what everyone has watched.

Experts fear a database could be targeted by cyber criminals looking to blackmail those on it.

Jim Killock, the Director of Open Rights Group, told Sky News: “This could go horribly wrong, exposing people to blackmail, fraud, and career-damaging data leaks.”

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