UK ‘Pornography Review’ expected to lead to stricter online porn rules

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UK Pornography Review eyes stricter rules for online porn access.

The UK government has announced a sweeping review of online porn regulation, that could lead to tougher rules for the industry as ministers seek to update laws and crack down on exploitation and abuse.

The Pornography Review, announced on July 3, 2023, is expected to take around one year. With the forthcoming Online Safety Bill—which the new review is separate to—set to further toughen online porn rules, a far more stringent UK online porn landscape appears to be incoming.

The review will involve various government departments and seek input from police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

The government said that “while the criminal law has been updated in recent years to tackle the presence of extreme and revenge pornography, there are currently different regimes that address the publication and distribution of commercial pornographic material offline, such as videos, and online.”

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It added that “the government wants to ensure any pornography legislation and regulation operates consistently for all pornographic content.”

The Online Safety Bill, which is likely to be passed in Parliament this summer, is expected to shore-up age verification rules for online porn. It is also set to make websites and social media platforms that host porn more legally accountable for the content they host, with potential jail sentences for those behind sites that allow illegal sexually explicit content on them.

Announcing the new online porn review, technology minister Paul Scully, said that “with technology moving faster than ever, we cannot take our eye off the ball in exploring what more we can do.”

Justice minister Ed Argar said: “It is vital we keep up with the pace of the online world and this review will help ensure our laws work to protect people online while punishing those who share illegal and harmful content.”

An online porn crackdown is also taking place in the US, with various states in the country introducing age verification rules for porn sites. Pornhub, the world’s largest porn site, has blocked itself in Virginia, Mississippi, Utah and Louisiana, due to new age verification rules.

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Jamie F
Jamie F

Jamie is a freelance writer, contributing to outlets such as The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, CNN and Vice, among others. He is also the creative force behind the Audible podcast Beast Master.

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