The UK Government’s mandatory age verification scheme for accessing online pornographic content, originally set for launch 15 July, has been delayed.
Giving a statement in the House of Commons, digital minister Jeremy Wright explained that the government had failed to notify the European Commission of the age verification standards that it expects companies to meet. Not having done so means it can’t legally introduce the policy at this stage according to EU Law.
Wright said, “It has come to my attention in recent days that an implementation process was not undertaken for an element of this policy and I regret to say this will delay the commencement date, in the region of six months”.
Despite the delay, Wright said the UK Government was committed to the policy, “This is not a change of policy or a lessening of this government’s determination for these changes to come about. In the mean time there is nothing to stop responsible providers of online pornography from implementing age verification mechanisms on a voluntary basis and I hope and expect that many will do so.”
The minister also commented on the technical challenge of accurate online age verification that had been raised during the consultation on the law’s white paper. Wright said he has commissioned new guidance that will be published in the autumn regarding the use of technology to ensure children are protected from inappropriate content online.
In conclusion, Wright added, “Age verification for online pornography needs to happen, and I believe it is the clear will of the house and those we represent that it should, and in the clear interests of our children that it must.”
Despite the delay AgeGO recommends that online adult content websites should still contact the company with any questions they might have about age verification and how AgeGO can help them get prepared for the future introduction of the mandatory UK law.