UK: New legislation about online pornography will be implemented in July

On 15 July 2019, UK will be the first country to implement measures about age verification for online pornography in order to ensure the protection of minors and user’s data.

This means that websites with pornographic content must create effective systems so as to check age of users and new measures will be taken, preserving user’s personal details and privacy. The commercial providers of online pornography will also be directly affected by the new laws as they will be obliged to follow exactly the relevant legislation, carrying out continuous age verification checks. On this basis, 88% of UK parents are without a doubt, in agreement with the new laws as they want to protect their children from exposure to this content and to dangers on the internet in general.

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) will be responsible for ensuring compliance with the new laws. As it has been mentioned before, the legislation will be implemented on 5 July, leaving websites with this kind of content to adapt to the new situation and comply with the new rules. ‘’Adult content is currently far too easy for children to access online. The introduction of mandatory age-verification is a world-first, and we’ve taken the time to balance privacy concerns with the need to protect children from inappropriate content. We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to be online, and these new laws will help us achieve this’’ said the Minister of Digital Margot James.

However, the British Board of Film Classification does not make do only with the new legislation and compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standards. Thus, BBFC decided to create a voluntary certification scheme, the Age Verification Certificate (AVC), which will assess the data security standards of AV providers, with the Government to be fully content with this innovative decision. More details about age verification providers will be posted on the BBFC’s age verification website.

BBFC Chief Executive David Austin supported that age validation system will remove minors from pornographic content and will ensure a more safe internet in the UK, supplementing: ‘’On entry into force, consumers will be able to identify that an age-verification provider has met rigorous security and data checks if they carry the BBFC’s new green ‘AV’ symbol.’’

The Government’s goal is to make the UK the safest online place in the world. According to this, CEO of Internet Matters Carolyn Bunting said that they are certain that Government will restrict and abolish online pornography, protecting thus children and specifically those who are not emotionally ready to receive such images. However, he also claimed: ‘’While our research shows that parents overwhelmingly support age-verification and are confident it will make a difference, we must recognize that digital solutions aren’t the only answer and parents can’t become complacent about their child’s digital world.’’ He also argued that the most right and appropriate is the dialogue and the discussion about such issues from an early age. This means that the parent’s role is equally important.

‘’Talking to children is vital and education has a major part to play here, and we need to ensure all young people are given a platform to discuss the pressures they face online and have the skills to spot and understand the gap between perception and reality. We are releasing a new extended PSHE toolkit later this month to address the issue of online pornography along with related topics of body image and healthy relationships,’’ mentioned Childnet Chief Executive Will Gardner.

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