Games

Australia wants to verify porn users by scanning their faces

“Home Affairs is developing a facial inspection service that compares a person’s photo with images used on a passport to verify their identity,” wrote the Agency for the Interior in a post. “This could be helpful in the age verification process, for example by preventing minors from using their parent’s driver’s license to bypass the age verification controls.”

One might think that online pornography is the least concern of any government, especially given the utter failure of the United Kingdom to block it. Australia will face many of the same problems, including the technical challenge of blocking everything on the Internet in the age of VPNs. There is also the delicate privacy issue of essentially having to create a database of pornographers.

To enforce the proposed law, Australia would apply a new facial recognition system that could be accessed by banks, government agencies, ISPs, and other companies. That alone would be a nightmare for privacy and a tempting target for hackers.

The government believes that porn testing could work as other districts, including Italy and Denmark, have successfully developed age-checking systems for online gambling. A lobby group in the sex industry suggested that ISPs could simply provide greater parental control so that parents can filter websites. However, the Law Society of the University of New South Wales pointed out that nothing is 100 percent effective because there are literally millions of domains and apps that allow users to bypass blocking.