BBFC has said age restrictions cannot act as a ‘silver bullet’ Credit:alamy Porn websites are highlighting loopholes in the ban on under-18s accessing them, as the watchdog admitted it will be powerless to stop tech-savvy teenagers circumventing it.The regulator acknowledged virtual private networks (VPNs) will allow users to evade age verification checks from July 15 by allowing under-aged users to create ghost accounts abroad that can access the porn sites.Although most VPNs require payment, MindGeek, the firm behind some of the world’s largest porn sites, has already released its own free VPN service, VPNHub, which allows users to disguise their location.Last year it advertised the service with the claim that it would let the user “access all websites and apps securely and privately at home, school, work or from anywhere in the world.”That description has now been changed, but on Apple’s App Store, VPN Hub boasts it will “mask your true location by routing your data through our full stack of global encrypted servers”.The app is currently available on Google and Apple app stores although MindGeek claimed it would not be available in UK app stores without age verification once the ban came into effect.Asked about the prospect of children using VPNs, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), the regulator, admitted age-verification is “not a silver bullet.” “These are semi-criminal operations that flout the law because they don’t give a hoot. They are breaking the law by sharing content anyway so they are not going to care about age verification,” he said.Myles Jackman, a lawyer expert on pornography legislation, said: “The community that is supposed to be most protected are the most tech literate and will be able to circumvent these rules.”The BBFC said it would report in a year on the effectiveness of the regime “including highlighting any changes in technology and will recommend additional or alternative means of achieving the child protection goals of the legislation.”A Pornhub statement said: “While Pornhub does not support the Act in that we firmly believe that parents are best placed to police their children’s online activity using the plethora of tools already available in modern operating systems, our platform will be fully compliant once the law comes into effect in July.”Our parent company owns and operates a number of different products, which all function independently from each other. The VPN client owned by our parent company was not designed to circumvent age verification, nor is it advertised as a tool to do so.”Furthermore, the VPN is only offered for free in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The app stores rely on PEGI to give them ratings. Currently VPNs are not classified as 18+, if PEGI were to change that rating then our VPN would be restricted to 18+ only.” A spokesman added: “Determined teenagers will find ways to access pornography. However, it will mean young children can no longer stumble across porn on commercial pornographic websites.” Experts also warned that anyone using VPNs risked exploitation of their personal data as controls on privacy and commercial use tended to be more lax.The Government estimates 1.4 million children a month access porn sites. From July 15, anyone who visits a porn site from a British IP address will be asked for “proof” they are 18, which they can obtain from third-party age verification firms or cards that can be bought in shops for £4.99.Experts anticipate the cards or codes that adults obtain from age verification firms are likely to end up being traded among prospective under-aged users.The BBFC is to closely monitor messaging and social media sites such as Reddit, Tumblr and Flickr which are not covered by the legislation but provide a potential route for young users to access porn. It will report in a year on whether further legislative action might be needed.With five million porn sites worldwide, the BBFC admits it will have to concentrate enforcement on the most popular porn sites that refuse to comply with the law, which is likely to leave smaller operations open to savvy younger users.Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, said he was particularly worried about torrent file-sharing sites where people can already download pirate copies of films and porn. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.