David Cameron Wants Porn Sites to Require Banking Information

It would seem that David Cameron doesn’t have a tech advisory or even knows anyone who uses browser other than Netscape, but that doesn’t seem stop him with his endless stream of proposals and laws to govern our internet. The latest idea in a long list of terrible ideas is arguable worse than his vaguely implied ban on cryptography, it also stems from an ongoing campaign by the DailyMail (Which is the British equivalent of fox news).

Backstory

Most people are familiar with the whole “violent video games make children violent” nonsense, here we’ve had a similar thing going for a while, but with internet porn. A couple of years ago the DailyMail decided that porn corrupts children and therefore it shouldn’t be a parent’s duty to install internet filters, instead they proposed that government should force ISPs to implement network level content filters which are enabled by default.
Well, unfortunately not only does David Cameron pay attention to the DailyMail, but he thought their suggestion was a brilliant idea, promptly releasing a statement making it clear that he wanted all ISPs to have the filters in place by the end of 2013. As of now, it’s not yet been made law; however, the system has already been implemented by all major ISPs, requiring new customers to specify if they want to opt-out of the filter. Unsurprisingly parents are quite happy parenting their own children, seeing as the top three ISPs reporting that only between 4 and 8 percent of new customers opted-in to the filter (any guesses as to how many of them were technologically inept?).

Latest Proposal

It’s now been decided that adult sites aren’t doing enough to prevent those under the age of 18 from using their services, with Cameron outlining plans to require that sites properly enforce age verification or face being added to the ever growing list of websites blocked in the UK. The current suggestion is that adult sites should use credit card or bank details for age verification (the same way that most e-commerce sites currently do). Is this a good idea? Short answer: no, long answer: oh my god no.
Privacy Issues
When it comes to free porn, there is really no way to track visitors across sessions, at least not in the UK. Cookie and local storage data gets cleared after each private browsing session and almost all UK ISPs issue dynamic IP addresses, making IP tracking useless. 
If website uses were required to link personal information with their accounts, suddenly not only is everyone traceable across browsing sessions, but their browsing habits are tied to their real name. A lot of people have a problem with large companies gathering basic personal information for advertising purposes, so I’m sure it will be had to find anyone who doesn’t have a problem with their porn history, name, and billing address being collected (probably a recipe for a very embarrassing call with your bank’s fraud resolution department). 
Security
This is where the idea becomes really, really terrible. Most of the smaller free porn sites don’t bring in a great deal of revenue, thus are unlikely to be employing security professional. When big multinational companies are getting breached left and right, does anyone really need small time porn sites hording financial information? Nothing compliments you banking information being stolen quite like your name, address and browsing habits appearing in the latest data dump.
Now of course, the above issues assumes the website was even legitimate in the first place. What’s to stop the same people running malware infested porn sites from re-purposing them to harvest bank details? Most people browsing porn aren’t exactly thinking with their head (well, at least not that one.), so even those wary of fraud are more likely to find themselves plugging their financial information into a shady site.

Conclusion

There is absolutely no way this idea works in any form, at best they find some kind of age verification method which doesn’t involve sharing your financial information, in which case porn passes join the never ending list of vices for sale on the playground black market. Not to mention that just like with the UK’s piracy filter and the EU right to be forgotten, it ‘s simply solved by setting up a VPN to access sites with an IP origination from another country. As always, parenting and politics should remain separate.