UK drops beleaguered porn block, but hints at ‘chilling’ potential future plans

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A computer screen with the word vxx on it showcases potential "chilling" future plans.

Plans for adult content to be locked away behind strict age verification measures for users in the UK have been shelved, Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), confirmed in a statement.

“The government has concluded that this objective of coherence will be best achieved through our wider online harms proposals and, as a consequence, will not be commencing Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 concerning age verification for online pornography,” Morgan said. 

She added that the objectives of the Digital Economy Act remain the same, but that it’ll be more effective delivered via the Online Harms regulation, as it will “give the regulator discretion on the most effective means for companies to meet their duty of care.”

While it’s a sensible move considering the inefficacy of the proposed measures, and the multiple delays – it was supposed to be in force in mid-2018, then July 2019, at which point it was delayed, essentially due to an admin error. With the potential for a ‘no deal’ departure from the European Union also on the cards, there was the possibility of it being re-introduced earlier than expected. This is clearly now not the case.

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Myles Jackman, obscenity lawyer and vocal opponent of the Age Verification proposals, says that Morgan’s wording leaves the potential for even further reaching measures in the future.

“Whilst this might seem like a victory for privacy, security and common sense, the implied threat that the mechanics of age verification could be introduced to social media platforms like Twitter and Reddit, via the proposed Online Harms Bill, with the same risks of intimate personal data theft, sale and publication as before, is frankly chilling,” Jackson told SEXTECHGUIDE.

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Ben
Ben

Ben Woods is a passionate journalist, editor, and media adviser who not only brought SEXTECHGUIDE to life but keeps it running smoothly on a day-to-day basis.Before embarking on this exciting journey, Ben's work reached millions of people through reputable publications such as WIRED, TrustedReviews, The Inquirer, V3, CNET, ZDNet, and The Next Web, among many more.Ben dives deep into the realms of tech, sex, and the future on SEXTECHGUIDE, inviting readers to explore the intriguing intersection of these domains.

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