UK To Step Up Age Verification Regime For Pornography Websites In 2018

Rebecca Barbier
Julho 17, 2017

Measures to force pornography sites to check the age of United Kingdom viewers have been unveiled, signaling the next step in a government crackdown on adult online content. The watchdog, which many assume will be the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), will be able to fine providers up to £250,000, or up to 5 percent of the turnover reported in their "most recent complete accounting period".

Users may be asked to provide credit card details - which can only legally be obtained by someone aged 18 years or older - as gambling websites do.

The Government will also announce plans to appoint a regulator that will police the adult websites.

Sites face being banned in the United Kingdom if they fail to comply with tough new regulations set to be announced by the Government on Monday.

"All this means that while we can enjoy the freedom of the web, the United Kingdom have the most robust internet child protection measures of any country in the world".

Hancock is expected to make a statement to the House of Commons today. It will be the regulator's responsibility to oblige porn sites to maintain age-restriction barriers, with a likely punishment for incompliance being the threat of blocked access from internet service providers (ISPs).

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"This is why having workable and enforceable measures that will protect them from adult content on the internet are a vital part of creating a safer online world for young people". It also refused to comment on which third party will be developing and operating the government's age verification system.

Just under half of 11-to-16-year-olds and more than a quarter of 11-to-12-year-olds have viewed pornography online, according to an NSPCC report published last year.

Will Gardner, chief executive of internet safety charity Childnet, said the measures would help prevent young people from accessing content that could be upsetting.

However, Open Rights Group criticised the plans, saying that age verification could lead to porn companies "building databases of the UK's porn habits, which could be vulnerable to Ashley Madison style hacks". "They would then decide what privacy risks or profiling take place for the vast majority of United Kingdom citizens".

The 2016 report also found that 19 percent of children accessed the content intentionally, compared to 28 percent who discovered it accidentally.

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