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‘Pajaporte’: Spain’s ‘porn passport’ age verification app is launching this summer

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Spain is set to roll out an app-based age verification process allowing adults to access porn in the country, as the authorities prepare for an EU law regarding porn and age verification that currently looks likely to come into force in 2027.

The new ‘porn passport’ process, as it has been dubbed in parts of the media, is set to be rolled out in late summer 2024. It will involve verifying that you are over 18 in a Cartera Digital Beta app, or Beta Digital Wallet, using government-recognised ID. Users will be able to scan a QR code popping up on a porn website, to begin the age verification process in the app.

Once you verify that you are aged over 18 using the app, you’ll be given 30 credits for the following month, each allowing you a period of online porn access. If you’re thirsty for more porn than your credit allocation allows, you can request more.

Sections of the Spanish media have called the app process “pajaporte”: a combination of passport and a slang phrase for masturbation. It had been claimed in some reports that the age verification process will be mandatory in Spain to access porn. However, Politico reported that it will be voluntary, and that porn sites will be able to offer other age verification processes.

Indeed, it remains to be seen if the porn passport will be widely used in its early days, as the age verification rules primarily apply to porn websites owned by companies based in Spain. Most of the world’s biggest porn sites, such as Pornhub, are based outside Spain.

Spain’s National Cybersecurity Institute has said that it will keep records of foreign porn websites, and intends to attempt to enforce age verification for non-Spanish sites through web browsers.

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The broader landscape

All this new age verification stuff is in preparation for a new EU law set to kick in from October 2027. From then, it will be illegal for websites in the EU to not take age verification measures to stop under-18s from accessing explicit porn content.

“We are acting in advance [of the EU law] and we are asking platforms to do so too, as what is at stake requires it,” José Luis Escrivá, Spain’s digital secretary, told the El País newspaper.

Age verification processes for accessing online porn are being toughened across Europe. In 2023 Italian authorities made porn-blocking filters on SIM cards registered to minors mandatory in the country. France and Germany are among the other countries to intensify age verification rules for porn ahead of the 2027-bound EU law.

In the UK, the recently-introduced Online Safety Bill has put greater pressure on porn sites to prevent minors accessing them, and is set to make social media sites more responsible for any adult content they might host.

In the US, meanwhile, new age verification rules and laws have been introduced in states across the country. Aylo, owner of the world’s biggest porn site Pornhub, has blocked access to its porn sites in many states, saying it can’t comply with the new rules.

Naturally, many privacy campaigners have warned of the dangers of keeping a list of people who have opted-in for access to adult content, as it leaves the potential for future blackmail or nefarious intent, if the data ever leaks.

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