UK selects BBFC to enforce age verification of adult sites

The UK government has formally proposed that the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) be the regulator for the age verification of online pornography in the UK.

Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock

The government said that the BBCFC has “unparalleled expertise in classifying content” and has a proven track record of interpreting and implementing legislation as the authority for age ratings under the Video Recordings Act.

“One of the missions of age verification is to harness the freedom of the internet while mitigating its harms,” said digital minister, Matt Hancock.

“Offline, as a society we protect children from viewing inappropriate adult material by ensuring pornography is sold responsibly using appropriate age checks. It is now time that the online world follows suit.”

BBFC chief executive officer, David Austin, said: “The BBFC’s primary aim is to protect children and other vulnerable groups from harmful content and we are therefore pleased to accept the government’s proposed designation.”

“Age-verification barriers will help to prevent children accessing or stumbling across pornographic content online. The UK is leading the way with this age-verification regime and will set an international precedent in child protection.”

The UK moved to introduce age verification checks for adult websites after signing in the Digital Economy Act in July of this year. The new rules on online pornography are expected to come into force by April 2018.

Before the BBFC is officially designated as the age-verification regulator the selection must be approved by parliament.