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UK ISP Internet Porn Ban Potentially Delayed Until Late 2019

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019 (5:27 pm) - Score 8,167
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The Government has reportedly said that its controversial new internet age verification system – targeted at commercial websites and “apps” that contain pornographic content – might not be enforced on 1st April as predicted last year and may not now be ready until later this year.

The system (see our summary), which would require broadband ISPs to block sites that fail to comply with the rules, has been beset by concerns over weak privacy controls (e.g. handing passports and payment details to companies linked with porn peddlers = incredibly dumb), costs, the impact upon sex workers (i.e. pushing them off-line and back onto the streets), freedom of expression and technical limitations (easy to circumvent).

Meanwhile many have questioned whether it’s even necessary since Sky Broadband, BT, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and other ISPs already offer optional network-level filtering systems, which work just fine. However until now the Government, despite being aware of the flaws in their approach, have continued to target its enforcement for 1st April 2019 (this was already a big delay).

A DCMS Spokesperson said (Standard):

“Our priority is to make the internet safer for children and we believe this is best achieved by taking time to get the implementation of the policy right.

It is anticipated age verification will be enforceable by the end of the year.”

As we understand it the Government still expects to have the new system ready well before the end of this year, although the above statement appears to be an older one and we’re waiting to find out precisely what’s supposed to be happening. Perhaps Brexit has something to do with all this since it seems to be keeping our MPs rather busy.

UPDATE 28th March 2019

The Government informs us that the Standard newspaper was using a very old quote (apparently it was a year out-of-date) and they claim there were never any solid plans for age verification to start in April, despite this being widely reported at the time of the last delay.

As the UK Digital Minister, Margot James, said in 2018: “We expect it to be in force by Easter of next year“. Instead they now plan to announce the commencement date “shortly.”

A DCMS Spokesperson said:

“This is a world-leading step forward to protect our children from adult content which is currently far too easy to access online. The government, and the BBFC as the regulator, have taken the time to get this right and we will announce a commencement date shortly.”

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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15 Responses
  1. Avatar Left Hand Cramp

    Thank the Lord!!

    There are only so many terrabytes you can download in a month.

    133 pages of Japanese porn videos still to go!!

  2. Avatar Michael V

    The current ISP set up works well. No it’s not perfect & may not block all sites but to get that filter removed one has to call customer service or log onto the billing account to change settings, or even use a debit card to get verified. The user could put blocks on sites themselves. I’m not really getting the actual point of all this.

    • Avatar Joe

      Its political posturing.

      As Mark says its just hard to express most it professional’s contempt for this as an effective measure even before we get to the insanity of giving just the sort of data thieves want to steal to some dodgy site which produces (insert fetish de jour)

  3. Avatar Mike

    My only concern with this system is AgeID may also cover UK VPN IP’s so it can’t be easily circumvented.

    • Where did you read that Mike? Quite interested to see if that’s indeed the case. However, as China and Russia could probably attest, trying to stop VPNs by merely banning IP addresses is a losing game.

    • Avatar Joe

      Not sure how they’d stop you accessing a foreign vpn.

    • Avatar Jigsy

      @Joe:

      Severe the submarine cables?

      I know Russia plans to test some kind of disconnection between the rest of the world and itself, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the UK would do something like that down the line.

    • Avatar Joe

      Well its literally true that if you cut all the cables that would work but it would break the internet and go down with the public like a ban on beer and crisps.

      Russia’s test was funny as ****. They said it was about protecting Russia from the west when as we all know the duration of the test would actually stop many of the Russian based (state and criminal sponsored) hackers activities.

    • Avatar Mike

      It hasn’t been officially announced but in order to comply with the law I presume sites using AgeID would use IP geolocation and anything from UK would get ID’d.

      Best case scenario is they only apply it to residential ISP IP’s.

  4. Avatar James

    lol.,uk government cannot get anything right at all.

    • Avatar Timeless

      personally l dont think its about getting something right, as a parent protecting kids from porn sounds like a good idea.

      the problem is that its not the governments job to do it, its the parents job to protect their children, legislation such as this caters towards the lazy who treat the internet as a daycare and dont keep am eye on their childrens internet usage, that and those who dont realise that this is going to end up as a costly failure which can be easily bypassed.

  5. Avatar Enki

    My kids are in their early 20s and mid teens, remember buying a billion years ago to censor my internet ourselves from porn etc. Knowing the lengths people would go get certain magazines in 80s, it was prudent to pre-empt such curiosity as much as possible. Also sitting down with your children and explaining what’s wrong and right about the internet does not go a miss!

  6. Avatar Amanda

    It’s a bit worrying that men are complaining about a law that is designed to protect children from the sick message that porn teaches men and boys – treat women as nothing more than three holes and a pair of boobs. Are you ashamed that you spend your time touching your penis to videos about step-mums, sisters and implied rape of Japanese women? Seriously, get a grip of something other than your genitals or show your ID.

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