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Porn age verification system in UK expected to be delayed again

by Mark Tyson on 20 June 2019, 10:11

Tags: UK Government

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The UK's online age verification checks for would-be viewers of pornography look set to be delayed again. This is just the latest delay in the government's morality project which it boasted would make the UK "the safest place in the world to be online," once we had implemented the system. Compulsory checks were supposed to be in place by April 2018, then April 2019, and the latest 'strong and stable' date put forward was 15th July - less than a month from now.

Old news

As noted by the BBC, the government has not yet announced this further delay - but it is expected to announce it today in parliament. In a Sky News report, we get a bit more background. We know about this announcement in advance because the regulator, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) was told about it yesterday afternoon.

Indefinite delay

Sky's sources say that the delay announced today will be indefinite. The reasons behind the delay are technical according to Sky's sources, rather than being bureaucratic (or political?). Nevertheless, the age check scheme had drawn the wrath of privacy campaigners on one side, and others who thought it would be a technically ineffectual waste of time and resources.

If it were to be implemented as it stood, sites with more than two thirds of their content classified as not-pornography-based would sidestep the requirement for verifications, and nothing would prevent would-be porn-peekers from simply using a VPN to avoid the system all-together. After introduction, determined porn viewers would surely have found and shared other loopholes too - avoiding the last resort of the Grattan catalogue lingerie section.

Do HEXUS readers think there a lesson for the government here? I think it depends whether today's delay is indefinite, and if we can be sure whether it really is delayed for technical reasons rather than anything else. I will update with a link to the official statement from the government's culture secretary, Jeremy Wright, this afternoon.



HEXUS Forums :: 30 Comments

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I don't trust any verification system implemented from the government or the sites operating such a system. It seems like the only thing it will achieve is being a nuisance, while not blocking stumbling upon porn sites to ‘protect our kids’ but instead only work when people know full well what they were doing. Frankly my faith in the government has been particularly dwindling in recent years. I also feel like parents need to be made more responsible, not less.
I wonder how much money they've wasted this time.
FRISH
Frankly my faith in the government has been particularly dwindling in recent years. I also feel like parents need to be made more responsible, not less.
Agree on both counts. Many parents, these days, just seem to want to offload all their responsibilities as parents onto to someone else, who they can then blame for their own failings.
But they're adamant the Irish border problem will be solved with ‘technology’.

Clowns, the lot of them.
Hoonigan
I wonder how much money they've wasted this time.
If only Labour were in power… Then it'd be someone else's money they'd wasted!!