Statement as age restriction for online pornography delayed by administrative oversight

20 June 2019

Legislation to place age restrictions on online pornography was due to come into effect on July 15th but will now be delayed after an administrative error.

The Government introduced the legislation with the intention of applying the same protections and limits of online pornography as exist offline. While most agree that children should be protected from adult content online, concerns have been raised that the legislation in its current format might not be fit for purpose.

It has been suggested that the verification process might leave personal information vulnerable, and the structure of the restrictions could limit people's online experience of non-pornographic content while not comprehensively restricting pornography.

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright made a statement in the Commons, apologising for an administrative error which will delay the planned implementation date.

He said that a failure to give a key notification could delay the legislation by up to six months.

"the House will I expect, want to understand how this occurred […] mechanisms have been put in place to make sure it cannot happen again. In the meantime, Mr Speaker, there is nothing stopping responsible providers of online pornography implementing age verification mechanisms on a voluntary basis"

Responding for the Opposition, Cat Smith said;

"A serious and important policy issue has descended into an utter shambles [...] age verification was supposed to be introduced last April "

She questioned the Minister on the cause of the error and asked whether the delay could be use to address concerns with the system.

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