Friday, 19 February 2016

Government Launches Porn Site Age Checks Consultation

Age_check

UK Government – Implementing Age Checks on Pornography


The UK government has launched a public consultation over plans in implementing age checks on pornography websites and the proposal follows a Conservative Party platform commitment that all sites comprising of pornographic content should check that users are above the age of 18 years. Those asked to make their contribution to the consultation are internet providers, academics, charities and several others. A security expert had stated that the plans would tussle to challenge porn on free sites.

The government suggests in the consultation document that the checks need to apply to content which would receive, if officially classified, an 18 or R18 rating from the British Board of Film Classification –BBFC. The consultation document has explained that they are keen to hear from parents, child protection experts, schools, the pornography industry, internet service provider as well as online platforms which offer access to pornographic content.

The government aims to launch a new regulatory agenda in order to enforce compliance with any rules that are made law, as part of the plans.The Internet Safety and Security Minister, Baroness Shields had stated that `just as we do offline, we want to ensure children are prevented from accessing pornographic content online which should only be viewed by adults’.

Issue a Matter of Urgency


Chief executive of the NSPCC, Peter Wanless had said that the issue seems to be `a matter of urgency and that the children who had ready access to content rated over 18 could develop a `misrepresented view of sexual relationship’. Earlier to the general election, Sajid Javid, then the Culture Secretary had stated that the appointed regulator would have the power to compel internet service providers in blocking sites which did not perform effective age checks.

He also added that providers who did not support could be fined. Moreover, the consultation document also explained that the regulator of age checks on porn sites can be given powers to impose sanctions inclusive of fines. Those companies that tend to support or provide services to the producers of pornographic online content could be directed to withdraw their services if the sites were identified to be obstinately non-compliant. This could comprise directing payment firm to stop processing transaction for the producers of porn content.

A Challenging Regulatory Goal


Nonetheless, a leading security researcher had commented that this would not cast out much of the pornography, if available freely online. Dr Gilad Rosner, a member of the Cabinet Office Privacy and Consumer Advocacy Group had said that his initial response to this release was that while the UK government could get some traction with payment processor and that it could have some effect, it would not affect the free pornography. Dr Rosner further added that considerable pornographic content seems to be available on free sites and blogs which do not take any payments from the users.

This is particularly challenging regulatory goal and he would bet that we would not see much in the way of tangible results for the next five years. However, one of the most visited free sites for pornography had indicated its plan in co-operating. A spokeswoman for the site had commented that `porn-hub would fully fulfilany strong legislative and appropriate local measures which emerge from this consultation.

As members of the Digital Policy Alliance, they have already been working to carve out a technical solution that works for all and it is necessary that all explicit adult content is covered and non-compliant sites are taken down quickly’.

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