Safety

Government Delays Online Porn Age Checks in the UK

Safety

The UK Government has announced that the compulsory age verification check for online porn visitors will no longer be introduced next month.

It has now stated that it will start “later in the year.”

A spokesman has said: “We need to take the time to make sure we get it right.”

Open Rights Group’s legal director, Myles Jackman said: “This is a chance for the government to rethink the absence of safeguards for privacy and security, but it is frightening to consider that this policy was two weeks away from launch before it was pulled. [The government] needs to introduce powers to safeguard privacy immediately before this scheme causes real damage.”

The new age verification rule is part of the Digital Economy Act and is designed to prevent children from coming across the content. This then means that online pornography viewers will have to prove that they are over the age of 18 to watch the explicit content online.

Several companies who were developing the age verification tool had also recently told the BBC that the deadline would be met to help achieve this. Reported methods have included passport authentication and credit card checks.

James Clark, from age verification platform AgeID, said: “The regulations still have to go out for consultation, and be discussed and approved by Parliament. There are set timings for such processes, so the maths just don’t seem to add up for it to be ready by April.”

Last July, Digital Minister Matt Hancock set an April 2018 deadline for the introduction of the age scheme, which is set to affect 20 to 34 million people in the UK.

Alastair Graham of AgeChecked also commented: “You would have thought there would be more discussion about it. Measures to make it easier for parents to be comfortable that they don’t have to be looking over their child’s shoulder the whole time is a good thing.”

Read more here.