Porn will be age-checked in UK from 15 July

17 Apr 2019412 Views

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New system will stop people under the age of 18 from viewing porn sites.

The UK government has confirmed that its controversial age verification rules for porn will become law on 15 July.

Digital minister Margot James said that the UK will become the first country in the world to bring in age verification for online pornography and that the move puts the same protections in place that exist offline for people under 18.

Under the new rules, porn sites must check the age of users or risk facing sanctions. Websites that fail to implement age verification technology face having payment services withdrawn or being blocked for UK users.

James said that the move is backed by 88pc of UK parents with children aged between seven and 17.

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) will be responsible for ensuring compliance with the new laws.

Internet safety

“Adult content is currently far too easy for children to access online,”James said.

“The introduction of mandatory age verification is a world first, and we’ve taken the time to balance privacy concerns with the need to protect children from inappropriate content. We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to be online, and these new laws will help us achieve this.”

In addition to the requirement for all age verification providers to comply with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standards, the BBFC has created a voluntary certification scheme, the Age Verification Certificate (AVC), which will assess the data security standards of AV providers. The AVC has been developed in cooperation with industry, with input from government.

Certified age verification solutions that offer data protection conditions will be certified following an independent assessment and will carry the BBFC green ‘AV’ symbol.

“The introduction of age verification to restrict access to commercial pornographic websites to adults is a groundbreaking child protection measure,” said BBFC CEO David Austin.

“Age verification will help prevent children from accessing pornographic content online and means the UK is leading the way in internet safety.

“On entry into force, consumers will be able to identify that an age verification provider has met rigorous security and data checks if they carry the BBFC’s new green ‘AV’ symbol.”

John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist who served as editor of Siliconrepublic.com for 17 years.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com