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BBFC Begins Consultation on UK Internet Age Verification System

Monday, March 26th, 2018 (11:47 am) - Score 1,217

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has started their consultation on the Government’s controversial internet age verification system, which will target websites or “apps” that contain pornographic content. Sites that fail to comply could find themselves being blocked by large broadband ISPs.

The measures were originally due to be introduced from April next month but this was recently delayed (here and here), partly due to the uncertainty over how such a system would actually work (e.g. lack of privacy safeguards and the risk of other unintended consequences etc.).

We’ve covered some of these problems quite a bit before (see links above) and so won’t repeat them again today.

BBFC Statement

We will consider and publish all responses before submitting final versions of the Guidance to the Secretary of State for approval. The Secretary of State is then required to lay the Guidance in parliament for formal approval. We support the government’s decision to allow a period of up to three months after the Guidance is formally approved before the law comes into force, in order to give industry sufficient time to comply with the legislation.

Draft Guidance on Age-verification Arrangements

Under section 25 of the Digital Economy Act 2017, the BBFC is required to publish:

guidance about the types of arrangements for making pornographic material available that the regulator will treat as complying with section 14(1)“.

The draft Guidance on Age-Verification Arrangements sets out the criteria by which the BBFC will assess that a person has met with the requirements of section 14(1) of the Act. The draft guidance outlines good practice, such as offering choice of age-verification solutions to consumers. It also includes information about the requirements that age-verification services and online pornography providers must adhere to under data protection legislation and the role and functions of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The draft guidance also sets out the BBFC’s approach and powers in relation to online commercial pornographic services and considerations in terms of enforcement action.

Draft Guidance on Ancillary Service Providers

Under section 25 of the Digital Economy Act 2017, the BBFC is required to publish: “guidance for the purposes of section 21(1) and (5) about the circumstances in which it will treat services provided in the course of a business as enabling or facilitating the making available of pornographic material or extreme pornographic material”.

The draft Guidance on Ancillary Service Providers includes a non-exhaustive list of classes of ancillary service provider that the BBFC will consider notifying under section 21 of the Act, such as social media and search engines. The draft guidance also sets out the BBFC’s approach and powers in relation to online commercial pornographic services and considerations in terms of enforcement action.

Further details can be found here and the deadline for responses is 23rd April 2018.

Leave a Comment
6 Responses
  1. Avatar Jigsy says:

    Of course, the British Board of Film Censors will ignore anything that doesn’t fit with their narrative.

  2. Avatar oh I Say says:

    Mary Whitehouse does HTTPS

  3. Avatar JustAnotherFileServer says:

    Interesting to note that they’ve had age verification online for years, but no one has noticed. You might ask where is it? The answer is simple, for many years banks and loan companies have been offering loans and mortgages online, where of course you have to verify that you are over the age of 18.

  4. Avatar anon says:

    You would think they would have better things to do then this but “We Must Save The Children” and of cause none of you know how to parent, so goverment must do it for you…..

    1. Avatar timeless says:

      chances are it will be pointless anyway because we all know how easy it is to get past filters with the help of proxies etc.. its a bit like torrent sites, one gets blocked there will be 100s of others to pick up the slack. rather than the Tories as usual wasting money on a pointless endeavour, maybe parenting classes would be money better spent.

  5. Avatar Mike says:

    It’s about internet censorship, since when does government care about the kids unless its in the Saville sort of way?

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