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

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"We will therefore allow time for the BBFC as regulator to undertake a public consultation on its draft guidance which will be launched later this month.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

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

 

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