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UK.gov snaps on rubber gloves, prepares for mandatory porn checks

Smut regulator also to be set up

By Kat Hall, 17 Jul 2017

The government is poised to usher in mandatory porn checks this week, with reports it will require users to provide details from a credit card to prove they are over 18.

The legislation was introduced in the Digital Economy Act in April, and will require websites serving up adult content to verify users' ages or be blocked by ISPs.

According to the Mail On Sunday, porn sites will have to use the same method as gambling websites to verify users are over 18. Sites could also face £250,000 fines if they fail to comply, it said.

The government is also expected to announce plans to appoint a regulator to police the sex websites, with the intention that all online porn sites have age verification controls by April 2018.

Digital Minister Matt Hancock said: "We are taking the next step to put in place the legal requirement for websites with adult content to ensure it is safely behind an age-verification control.

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

Hancock is expected to make a statement to the House of Commons today.

Information Commission Elizabeth Denham, meanwhile, has raised concerns that age checks could lead to the collection and retention of information that could be misused "or attractive to disreputable third parties”.

The Liberal Democrats have previously opposed the plans, having describing the measures as something the "Russian or Chinese governments" would impose.

The party's spokesman Ed Davey said the rules will have limited success, while creating huge databases of those over 18 accessing legal adult content.

“This data is a practical treasure trove of information for hackers and criminals and the Government have failed to deal with this flaw," he said today.

“At the time we forced the government to accept a review of how these provisions function. I hope that ministers will be monitoring whether age-verification actually works rather than being content with passing legislation that sounds tough but fails to meet its objectives.” ®

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