Technology 16 October 2019 By New Scientist staff and Press Association The plans were designed to stop children from viewing pornography sitesPeopleImages/Getty ImagesThe UK government has dropped plans to introduce age verification measures to prevent children from accessing pornography online. Under the scrapped plans, people would have to prove their age in a number of…
16 October 2019
The UK government has dropped plans to introduce age verification measures to prevent children from accessing pornography online.
Under the scrapped plans, people would have to prove their age in a number of ways, including using traditional forms of ID such as a credit card or passport, or by buying an over-the-counter card from shops where verification would take place face to face.
The scheme was criticised by privacy campaigners, who warned that the database of pornography users would be a huge hacking target for blackmailers.
The long-delayed tighter controls were last due to come into force on 15 July, but were pushed back after the government failed to notify the European Commission about certain aspects of the crackdown.
Under the proposed plans, websites that failed to put adequate checking tools in place would risk being blocked by UK internet service providers or having their access to payment services withdrawn.
Digital secretary Nicky Morgan said the age verification measures will no longer go ahead under Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017, with efforts instead focused on the government’s wider online harms.
“The government has concluded that this objective of coherence will be best achieved through our wider online harms proposals and, as a consequence, will not be commencing Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 concerning age verification for online pornography,” she said.
“The Digital Economy Act objectives will therefore be delivered through our proposed online harms regulatory regime. This course of action will give the regulator discretion on the most effective means for companies to meet their duty of care.”
The British Board of Film Classification, which was chosen to act as regulator for the checks, said it had all systems in place ready to get on with its new role. “The introduction of age verification on pornographic websites in the UK is a necessary and important child protection measure,” it said in a statement.
More on these topics: