Home Government Tech Policy UK delays age verification scheme for porn websites
UK delays age verification scheme for porn websites Featured

The UK has put off till "later in the year" the implementation of an age verification system for limiting access to pornography websites by its citizens.

In July last year, the UK's Digital Minister Matt Hancock said the system would take effect from April this year.

The system is to be developed by the British Board of Film Classification which was given the responsibility in February but is yet to say publicly how the system will work. The board told the BBC that it aimed to share details about the scheme in a month's time.

The government's statement about the delay of the policy was buried in a media release about fund allocation for 5G projects.

The relevant portion read: "Our priority is to make the Internet safer for children and we believe this is best achieved by taking time to get the implementation of the (age verification) policy right.

"We will therefore allow time for the BBFC as regulator to undertake a public consultation on its draft guidance which will be launched later this month.

"For the public and the industry to prepare for and comply with age verification, the government will also ensure a period of up to three months after the BBFC guidance has been cleared by Parliament before the law comes into force.

"It is anticipated age verification will be enforceable by the end of the year."

British online privacy and free speech activist organisation Open Rights Group said while it welcomed the the delay, age verification remained a huge threat to privacy for millions.

ORG'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.

“Matt Hancock needs to introduce powers to safeguard privacy immediately before this scheme causes real damage.”

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

 

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