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

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

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

I started this site and keep it running. Tech. Sex. The future. SEXTECHGUIDE is a place to look a bit closer at that the place where those things meet. You can find my work before SEXTECHGUIDE on WIRED, TrustedReviews, The Inquirer, V3, The Next Web and many more sites. If you want to get in contact, please get in touch using the contact form

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