The starter’s gun has been raised!

Yesterday in Parliament the British Government tabled the last pieces of the legal jigsaw that had to be assembled  to allow the British Board of Film Classification to begin their work of requiring commercial pornography sites to operate robust age verification services in order to ensure persons under the age of 18 cannot ordinarily access their content.

To coincide with this long awaited moment the BBFC have also launched their web site to provide members of the public with a run down of how the new system will work.

Both Houses of Parliament have to debate the orders that were laid. It is anticipated that will take place in late November with the actual commencement date likely to be set for two or three months after then. That’s when the serious business begins.

As D-Day approaches there will be an increased level of activity to ensure as many people as possible are aware of what the new regime will entail.

As we have repeatedly stated, all of the legal pornography that is on the internet today will still be there tomorrow. Any adult  who wants to access it will still be able so to do.

The only  change will be that adults will have to go through a privacy-preserving age verification mechanism, as they already have to with online gambling and a range of other legally age restricted services and products that are available over the internet.

In fact the age verification solutions which have emerged to cope with the anticipated demand for age verification on commercial pornography sites are among the most privacy-respecting apps ever to have been developed. Mindful of the key legal principle of data minimization, the only thing an age verification provider needs to satisfy themselves about is your age. Nothing else.

This has been a long time coming.

About John Carr

John Carr is one of the world's leading authorities on children's and young people's use of digital technologies. He is Senior Technical Adviser to Bangkok-based global NGO ECPAT International, Technical Adviser to the European NGO Alliance for Child Safety Online, which is administered by Save the Children Italy and an Advisory Council Member of Beyond Borders (Canada). Amongst other things John is or has been an Adviser to the United Nations, ITU, the European Union, the Council of Europe and European Union Agency for Network and Information Security and is a former Executive Board Member of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety. He is Secretary of the UK's Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety. John has advised many of the world's largest internet companies on online child safety. In June, 2012, John was appointed a Visiting Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science. This was renewed in 2018. More:
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