Government goes limp on deadline for porn site ID check

Tphubhe Government has made a hasty withdrawal from imposing age-verification checks for adult websites, just two weeks before they were due to come into force, amid reports that many companies are still fumbling in the dark.
The move follows claims made last week that the measures could create “a treasure trove of private information” – including consumers’ sexual preferences – that will make a data breach “inevitable”.
In a statement, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport said: “We are making age verification compulsory for commercial porn sites, as part of our work to make the Internet a safer place for children. But we need to take the time to make sure we get it right, and it will come into effect later this year.”
The regulator, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), has yet to explain how the process will work. It has been reported that up to 34 million UK consumers could be affected.
DCMS added: “We will allow time for the BBFC as regulator to undertake a public consultation on its draft guidance which will be launched later this month. 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.
Myles Jackman, legal director of the Open Rights Group, called on the Government to use the delay to rethink the absence of safeguards for privacy and security. He added: “It is frightening to consider that this policy was two weeks away from launch before it was pulled. [The government] needs to introduce powers to safeguard privacy immediately before this scheme causes real damage.”
Warren Russell, chief executive of W2Global, which already offers ID verification systems to financial services firms, told the BBC: “We are all working a little bit in the dark and making our best educated guesses as to what will and won’t be acceptable. The real difficulty for providers is that the regulators have not yet released guidelines.”

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