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UK abandons plans for online porn age verification

 UK abandons plans for online porn age verification

Plans to introduce a nationwide age verification system for online pornography have been abandoned by the UK government after years of technical troubles and concerns from privacy campaigners, reports the Guardian. “The climbdown follows countless difficulties with implementing the policy, which would have required all pornography websites to ensure users were over 18. Methods would have included checking credit cards or allowing people to buy a ‘porn pass’ age verification document from a newsagent. Websites that refused to comply with the policy – one of the first of its kind in the world – faced being blocked by internet service providers or having their access to payment services restricted.” The culture secretary, Nicky Morgan, told parliament the policy would be abandoned. Instead, the government would instead focus on measures to protect children in a much broader online harms white paper. This is expected to introduce a new internet regulator, which will impose a duty of care on all websites and social media outlets – not just pornography sites. She said: “This course of action will give the regulator discretion on the most effective means for companies to meet their duty of care.” Despite abandoning the proposals, Morgan said the government remained open to using age verification tools in future, saying: “The government’s commitment to protecting children online is unwavering. Adult content is too easily accessed online and more needs to be done to protect children from harm.” Despite repeated reassurances from pornography websites and age verification sites that personal details would be kept separate from information about what users had watched, privacy campaigners continued to raise concerns about data security. In addition, earlier this year the Guardian showed how one age verification system could be sidestepped in minutes. See Guardian item and Online harms white paper.

  • Monday, 21 October 2019

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