David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, has criticised the UK government’s plans to put over-arching age verification rules in place to prevent minors from accessing adult material online, as well as redefine what is acceptable to watch.
The Digital Economy bill, which looks set to sail through Parliament, isn’t focused solely on this issue, but it’s one of the points causing concern among many people.
Essentially, it would require anyone that wants to access adult material to register with a government-authorised verification method; it’s a virtual database of porn users in the UK. It also means that all adult, and some non-adult, services need to comply with the new regulations, or risk being blocked.
Kaye said that in its current form, the bill represents a “significant tightening of control over the internet” and that it may “fall short of the standards of international human rights law,” according to The Guardian.
He also said that, in conjunction with the Investigatory Powers Act that requires service providers to store all your online activity, the UK’s significantly ramping up control of the internet for citizens.
“The bill contains insufficient procedures without adequate oversight, overly broad definitions and lack of data-sharing safeguards that unduly interferes with the rights of freedom of expression and privacy,” Kaye concluded.