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ATVOD calls for block on payments to foreign porn sites

ATVODUK video-on-demand regulator ATVOD has called for a block on credit and debit card payments being made to foreign-based pornography websites that fail to take adequate measures to protect minors in the UK.

In its annual report, ATVOD argues that under Crown Prosecution Service guidance on the Obscene Publications Act, it is clear that non-UK website that offer unrestricted access to hardcore pornography that can be accessed in the UK should  be considered in breach of UK law.

ATVOD points out that websites of this type typically offer free windows of content to attract payment by credit and debit card for other content. It questions whether action could not be taken to prevent such companies – operating illegally – from drawing revenues from UK bank and credit card accounts.

The regulator said it had raised the issue with payment companies and hoped to see progress on the matter in the coming year.

In its annual report, ATVOD highlighted successes within the UK over the past year against pornographic services that failed to ensure children were protected, including £100,000 in fines levied against porn sites operated by Playboy TV that failed to ensure under-18s could not access content.

“We have made good progress in ensuring that UK operators of regulated VOD services comply with rules designed to protect children from harmful content, but we are not complacent and will continue to monitor relevant services and act as required,” said ATVOD chief executive Pete Johnson. “Our recent enforcement activity has sent a clear message that UK providers of hardcore pornography on demand must take effective steps to ensure that such material is not accessible to under-18s. Asking visitors to a website to click an ‘I am 18’ button or enter a date of birth or use a debit card is not sufficient – if they are going to offer explicit sex material they must know that their customers are 18, just as they would in the ‘offline’ world.”

Tags: ATVOD, Regulation, UK