If you’re in the United Kingdom, there’s a new censorship scheme rolling out in July that will make it difficult to access adult content online without a hassle (at best) and serious privacy issues (at worst). Here are our favorite VPNs to help you sidestep that.
Here’s the quick summary if you’re not familiar with the matter. For several years the government in the United Kingdom has been debating implementing a nation-wide mechanism to restrict access to pornographic content to adults only. After much back and forth, such a mechanism is rolling out on July 15, 2019. The legislation’s verification requirements come with potentially serious privacy issues.
Commercial adult websites—but not other sites that have tons of adult content like Reddit and Imgur—will be required to verify that the person visiting the site is of age. The government has left the methodology open to the companies, but simple “select the year you were born and check here” mechanisms are out. So far some of the methods involve uploading a copy of your driver’s license or passport (such as the method used by the AgeID system deployed by MindGeek).
There will also be physical passes you can buy in a store to get a number you can plug in, but there’s no law compelling providers to use it. You can read more about the legislation at the BBC.
We don’t know about you, but the idea of uploading a copy of your passport to a third-party that will, most likely, have total garbage security and eventually have their database stolen sounds like an absolute privacy nightmare for any reason, but particularly so in this case. If you’re sitting there thinking “How the hell do I avoid this mess?” then you’re in luck—the law does absolutely nothing about VPNs and you can easily use one to blow right by all this censorship nonsense. (If you’ve never heard of a VPN before and you need a primer, check out this great explainer from our sister site How-To Geek on the matter.)
Here are our favorite VPNs so you can watch whatever the hell you want to watch in the UK, be it Game of Thrones or Game of Bones, the way you want it with no privacy violations. We’ve recommended the following VPNs for years and with good reason, they are feature-rich and great values.
Our Top Pick: ExpressVPN
If you’re looking for the most flexibility and options with your VPN, it’s tough to beat ExpressVPN. They have over 3,000 servers in 160 locations across 94 countries. If there’s something you want to watch, no matter how it might be geo-restricted, there’s a slim-to-none chance you’ll be unable to bounce to a new country with ExpressVPN and watch it in peace without nagging (and definitely without uploading your passport).