UK Plans Age Verification For Porn Websites From 2018

Pablo Tucker
July 18, 2017

Pornography websites will be forced to prove that users are aged at least 18 under tough new powers to be announced by the Government tomorrow.

The government really is going to try to limit internet porn by forcing sites to check the age of users, with web sites made to install age-verification tools to check viewers are over the age of 18 or face a £250,000 fine.

Measures to force pornography sites to check the age of United Kingdom viewers will be announced this week, signaling the next step in a government crackdown on adult online content.

Children deserve the strongest possible protections online and the robust age-verification checks on pornographic websites, brought in through The Digital Economy Act, are a vital milestone in the fight to stop children being exposed to harmful content online.


Under an amendment to the Digital Economy Bill (DEB), porn sites will be required to introduce age checks or risk being blocked by internet social providers (IPS) if they fail to comply.

The minister of state for digital, Matt Hancock, is expected to start the official process on Monday via a written statement to the House of Commons.

The deadline for the checks, which are being introduced to protect under-18s, was "revealed as digital minister Matt Hancock signed the commencement order for the Digital Economy Act", which requires websites publishing pornography accessible in the United Kingdom "on a commercial basis" to provide ID checking software.

"All this means that while we can enjoy the freedom of the web, the United Kingdom have the most robust internet child protection measures of any country in the world".


Dr Julia Fossi, a senior analyst at the charity's child safety online team, said back in 2015: "We all understand the importance of keeping children safe in the offline world". Steps like this to help restrict access, alongside the provision of free parental controls and education, are key.

An NSPCC report in 2016 said online pornography could damage a child's development and decision-making and had been seen by 65% of 15-16 year olds and 48% of 11-16 year olds.

Executive director of Open Rights Group, Jim Killock, said in a statement: "Age verification is an accident waiting to happen".

The plans were set out within last year's controversial Digital Economy Act and are created to protect children from accessing the content. "Despite repeated warnings, parliament has failed to listen to concerns about the privacy and security of people who want to watch legal adult content".


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