Australia considers digital ID verification for adult websites

Australian government considers introducing mandatory age verification via government-used digital ID for access to adult websites and online content.

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Australian communications minister, Michelle Rowland, announced that the government is considering mandatory digital government ID to be used for age verification for adult websites.

The Australian government has allocated $26.9m in the budget to develop digital government ID. The plans are that the digital ID will be used for verification for certain products and services that are bought or consumed online or via mobile devices. In March, the eSafety commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, delivered a report outlining a potential roadmap for age verification of Australian users visiting websites hosting pornography and other adult content. The roadmap should be released soon, once the government addresses other reforms, such as the changes to the Privacy Act.

Critics have raised concerns that forcing businesses to set up age verification systems and requiring users to share government-issued identity documents could lead to blackmail or online ‘honeypots’.