UK government delays age verification for adult sites

The UK government has said that age verification for adult sites will now be enforceable “by the end of the year,” instead of its previously announced April 2018 deadline.

In a statement, included in an announcement about the rollout of 5G mobile in the UK, the government said that its priority is to make the internet safer for children and that this is best achieved by “taking time to get the implementation of the policy right”.

“We will therefore allow time for the BBFC as regulator to undertake a public consultation on its draft guidance which will be launched later this month,” said the statement.

“For the public and the industry to prepare for and comply with age verification, the government will also ensure a period of up to three months after the BBFC guidance has been cleared by parliament before the law comes into force. It is anticipated age verification will be enforceable by the end of the year.”

The UK moved to introduce age verification checks for pornographic websites after signing in the Digital Economy Act last July.

The government formally proposed that the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) be the regulator for the age verification in December, a move that was made official in February.

BBFC chief executive officer, David Austin, commented in December: “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.”