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MP Challenges Govt Over Age Verification Failure

Online Safety
22 October 2020
Online Safety 28p429 Resources 0 4

The Government has been strongly challenged over its failure to implement age verification on online pornography by one of its own MP's this week.

Writing for the influential Tory grassroots website, Conservative Home, Nick Fletcher MP called on the Government to introduce age verification now, rather than waiting for a new Online Harms Bill.

In 2015, the Conservative Party made a manifesto commitment to introduce age verification to protect young people from online porn.

This commitment was fulfilled through Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 which passed both the Commons and the Lords.

Work began then on putting the scheme into place and in 2018, an independent regulator was appointed: the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).

Along the way there were numerous delays and suddenly, on 16 October the Government abandoned the scheme altogether.

At the time, the explanation was that a new, more comprehensive bill would be introduced tackling both online pornography and other online harms.

However, the Government has yet to introduce this bill and has not even responded to its consultation on a white paper on the bill.

It could therefore be years before the new bill is successfully passed by both Houses of Parliament.

Meanwhile, children continue to be exposed to online pornography.

In his article, Nick Fletcher MP used CARE polling by Savanta ComRes from 18-20 September which showed 63% of respondents want age verification to be introduced immediately.

CARE is currently campaigning with our Help Protect Children From Online Porn Campaign encouraging people to ask their MP to support age verification.

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