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UK scraps ID checks for adult sites

October 17, 2019

The UK government has scrapped plans to use strict age verification checks to stop under-18s viewing adult content online.

It said the policy, which was initially set to launch in April 2018, would “not be commencing” after repeated delays, and fears it wouldn’t even work.

The so-called ‘porn blocker’ would have forced commercial porn providers to verify users’ ages, or face a UK ban.

Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan said other measures would be deployed to achieve the same objectives.

The government first mooted the idea of a porn blocker back in 2015, with the aim of stopping youngsters “stumbling across” inappropriate content. Porn sites which failed to check the age of UK visitors would have faced being blocked.

In a statement, Morgan said the government would not be “commencing Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 concerning age verification for online pornography”.

Instead, she said, porn sites would be expected to meet a new “duty of care” to improve online safety. This will be policed by a new online regulator “with strong enforcement powers to deal with non-compliance”.

“This course of action will give the regulator discretion on the most effective means for companies to meet their duty of care,” she added.

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