Skip to main content

Age verification for porn? Expert warns of security risks as Pornhub considers blocking Canadians


A Senate bill that would require age verification online to access explicit sites like Pornhub could put personal information at risk, a cybersecurity expert says.

Technology expert Ritesh Kotak said the Senate bill is "noble" in protecting young people from explicit online material and ensuring individuals of age get access to it. 

But, he said, "the way you go about implementing the goal, if done incorrectly, creates more issues and problems in the future than solving a problem."

The proposed legislation doesn't specify how sites should verify a user's age, but options include a digital ID system or face recognition software.

"I'm sure that individuals that are visiting these sites want some level of anonymity, so it's kind of this balancing act between access to content and privacy, with respect to age verification," Kotak said in an interview with CTV News Channel on Tuesday.

Kotak said uploading images of government-issued ID like a driver's licence or passport onto a third-party site to verify age can potentially be an issue in the event of a data breach.

Kotak said another option could be the use of an authentication mechanism often seen with government sites such as that of the Canada Revenue Agency, and involves using banking sites to verify a user's identity.

"There have been ways of successfully implementing it. However, this is a whole other realm and is a lot more complex."

Status of Canada's porn bill 

The bill does not get into detail about how identities would be verified, and how this sensitive information might be stored and protected.

As it stands at this stage in the process, it outlines a range of concerns about minors having access to sexually explicit material, including the potential to develop a pornography addiction and the reinforcement of harmful gender stereotypes.

It proposes companies that host such material be forced to ensure young people cannot access it, under threat of fines between $250,000 and $500,000.

The bill is currently being considered by a committee in the House of Commons.

In response to the proposed Bill S-210, Pornhub is considering blocking access to Canadians of all ages to show its opposition. The company says regulations that require sites to collect significant amounts of highly sensitive personal information put user safety in jeopardy.

With files from The Canadian Press 


Who is supporting, opposing new online harms bill?

Now that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's sweeping online harms legislation is before Parliament, allowing key stakeholders, major platforms, and Canadians with direct personal experience with abuse to dig in and see what's being proposed, reaction is streaming in. has rounded up reaction, and here's how Bill C-63 is going over.



opinion Don Martin: How a beer break may have doomed the carbon tax hike

When the Liberal government chopped a planned beer excise tax hike to two per cent from 4.5 per cent and froze future increases until after the next election, says political columnist Don Martin, it almost guaranteed a similar carbon tax move in the offing. Top Stories


opinion The big benefits of adopting a debt-free lifestyle

In his column for, columnist Christopher Liew explains the benefits of adopting a debt-free lifestyle, as well as the change in financial mindset and sacrifices it takes.

Local Spotlight

'It was surreal': Ontario mother gives birth to son on day of solar eclipse

For many, Monday's total solar eclipse will become a distant memory or collection of photos to scroll through in the years to come. But for Alannah Duarte and her family, they'll be reminded of the rare celestial event every year they celebrate their youngest son's birthday, as he was born on the day of the momentous occasion.

Stay Connected