Within a year, online pornography websites for UK viewers will be required to age gate — what is stop under age people from accessing their sites.

Failure to do so could see them blocked by their Internet Service Provider (ISP). It’ll be popular with Mumsnet and the intention to safeguard children is noble. But is this dragon too big to slay?

ISPs have a strange relationship with the public and politicians around the world.

A digital globe relies on these companies but these private firms treat them like utilities whereas perhaps they are much more than that.

As a knee jerk reaction, the UK government appeals to public opinion but how to put this into action is not clear.

Whilst the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is a good candidate for the new regulatory body to oversee the implementation – significant investment will be required. The BBFC is very able to police films and computer games, but online pornography is a far bigger beast.

With estimated annual revenues of £1 billion, the UK accounts for five percent of the global industry.

This number is equitable to the wider UK film industry and videogames are about quadruple this figure. The difference is, is that the pornography market is perhaps the world’s largest cottage industry.

This is not to say that the market is short of cash. The massive Porn 2.0 platforms have decimated their traditional competition. For example with a sizeable web presence, PornHub is the world’s 38th most popular website, ahead of Google Canada and Mexico. And two other adult websites also appear in the top 50. These sites are ahead of any sports website and the BBC.

The most popular platforms have already announced compliance, the challenge will be how to force the smaller players to comply and how to regulate this vast global market. Famously, pornography is ahead of the curve. The adult industry was one of the first to populate the net and the legend that it installed VHS as the video format war winner.

Even in the early days of the Digital Economy Act, when ‘Verify’ was being touted as the UK’s online identification platform, the industry correctly called it out of date and was going ahead with its own solutions.

By putting the onus on ISPs, the government is hoping that it can off load the responsibility and pick up the political capital.

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The financial services and gambling markets have been successfully been compelled to regulate.

But this did have certain side effects.

The larger gambling players swallowed the cost of regulation, but smaller bookmakers withdrew. The public may not care about smaller pornographers, but it is likely to cause result in a monopoly.

As for protecting children, the online adult industry has proven itself faster than government and its customers (particularly IT savvy youth) have adapted when ever road blocks are thrown in front of its material.

Whilst the ISPs are crucial to enabling a safer internet: The government needs to be less polemic and more collaborative.

No matter now distasteful, for age verification needs to be created with the technologists and the smut peddlers.