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February 16, 2016updated 04 Sep 2016 10:15pm

UK government to enforce age verification on x-rated porn websites

News: Government launches public consultation to require age verification for pornographic content online.

By CBR Staff Writer

The UK Government has launched a public consultation on proposals that require all pornographic websites to introduce age verification in order to stop children from viewing harmful content.

The consultation, which outlines the government’s preferred approach to protect children from online pornography, will run until 12 April 2016.

It follows negotiations with several stakeholders, including internet providers, social media and search companies, charities, academics and others.

Under the new proposals, companies profiting from online pornography will have a legal obligation to make sure those accessing material are more than 18.

The government will also set up a new regulatory framework for monitoring and enforcing compliance, with the power to impose civil sanctions when they are breached.

UK Internet safety and security minister Baroness Shields said: "The Internet is a tremendous resource for learning and creativity but it is important to make sure that children are able to make the most of all it has to offer in a safe way. Keeping children safe online is one of government’s greatest priorities.

"Just as we do offline, we want to make sure children are prevented from accessing pornographic content online which should only be viewed by adults."

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The move is part of a commitment by the government to make the internet a safer place for young people.

NSPCC Chief Executive Peter Wanless said: "Every day ChildLine receives calls and messages from young people who feel they are being badly affected by the way they and their friends can view unlimited online pornography.

"As a matter of urgency we must prevent children having ready access to content rated over 18 as it can give them a warped view of sexual relationships."

The government analysis found that one in five children watch viewed online pornography on the internet, with around 1.4 million children having visited adult websites in a single month.

Last December, a report by Ofcom revealed that the majority of UK internet users do not take advantage of Internet service provider (ISP) filters designed to restrict access to online pornography and other adult content.

An agreement with the government requires the ISPs to provide network-level filtering to avoid access to sites with adult content or that harm children.

The report revealed that between 30% to 40% of Sky customers are using content filtering, but just 6% of BT subscribers have activated a filter.

 

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