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PornHub will soon require your name and address before you can watch

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Gary Ogden
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PornHub will require your name and address from April

Lighting some scented cherry blossom Yankee Candles, throwing a blanket of roses onto the bed, loading up your favourite movie on your massive HD projector, getting a bottle of ‘something’ and JUST HAVING A REALLY NICE TIME IN ON A FRIDAY.

Well, that’s a thing of the past, because PornHub (whatever that is, don’t ask me, I don’t know, seriously I don’t know why do you keep asking me what it is I have zero clue nope never heard of it get off my back) is going to be implementing a strict set of rules from April, and it might disrupt your alone time in a big way.

Basically, Mindgeek - a big, scary company that owns PornHub, RedTube, YouPorn and Brazzers - will now require names, addresses, dates of birth and mobile phone numbers before allowing you access to their library of Oscar-worthy movies. It’s called AgeID and will also require excitable internet ‘surfers’ to sign up and create a username and password for a number of explicit sites.

This frankly draconian assault on my, I mean your rights is all because of the Digital Economy Act 2018. Essentially, you’ll have to prove that you’re 18 to log in, and it’ll all be policed by the BBFC (the same lot that put the age certificates on ‘normal’ movies), with sites that fail to ID users being fined up to £250,000. As such, expect to see it absolutely bloody everywhere, relatively soon.

The scheme, unsurprisingly, has its critics - porn site owner Pandora Blake says: “You can imagine how much data that is going to give MindGeek, if they’re going to have stats on what people click on, what porn sites people click on, what they pay for.

“Once you’ve got a MindGeek login, you’re going to be giving them your entire web browsing history, because they’re going to be able to track every time you log in to anything.”

And Jim Killock, executive director of the privacy group Open Rights Group said: “The BBFC will struggle to ensure that Age Verification is safe, secure and anonymous. They are powerless to ensure people’s privacy.

“The major publisher, MindGeek, looks like it will dominate the AV market. We are very worried about their product, AgeID, which could track people’s porn use. The way this product develops is completely out of BBFC’s hands. 

“Users will not be able to choose how to access websites. They’ll be at the mercy of porn companies. And the blame lies squarely with Theresa May’s government for pushing incomplete legislation.”

Supposedly, it’s all OK, though, and everyone is getting their crotchless boxer shorts in a twist over nothing. A MindGeek spokesman reassures:

“AgeID has been built from the ground up with data protection, data minimisation and the principles of privacy by design at its core, while also complying with the GDPR. 

“This is why we where do not store any personal data entered during the age-verification process.

“Due to the encrypted nature of AgeID’s login credentials, such data cannot be exposed in the unlikely event of a hack.”

Yeah, “unlikely event of a hack” - this is exactly the kind of thing that is begging to be hacked by anyone with even a basic understanding of computers. Everyone wants to know what porn everyone else watches, don’t they? Is it cactus porn? Wasp porn? Invisible porn? Dandruff porn? Mars porn? In 1998 when The Undertaker threw Mankind off Hell in a Cell, and plummeted 16 feet through an announcer’s table porn? I want to know, basically.

Either way, it’s worrying, and a harsh glimpse into where the future of the internet is heading. Me? I’m not worried, my local newsagent gets Club in for me every month, and I gave the gullible sod a fake name and address! He won’t get one over on me!

(Image: Brayden George)

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Gary Ogden

Shortlist writer and "the least woke person in the office", Gary Ogden, likes horror movies, Cheestrings, tapping his leg under the desk, "having a drink", hiding from responsibility, screaming into the mirror whenever he is alone, and assorted other things. Mainly the screaming thing though. @garyblogden

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