The U.K. Porn Block Has Been Pushed Back Yet Again

Underaged kids in the U.K. are still free to stream porn. For now.

UK Porn Age Block
Porn viewers in the UK may soon have to verify their age, but not yet.
(Gabe Ginsberg/FilmMagic)
By Kayla Kibbe / June 20, 2019 10:28 am

That controversial porn age-block the U.K. has been threatening to impose since 2017 has been delayed once again.

First introduced in 2017 as part of the Digital Economy Act, the legislation requiring age-verification for prospective internet porn viewers was initially slated to role out back in April 2018. The measure was subsequently pushed back to July of this year, and now it has been delayed an additional six months, Business Insider reported.

If the new rules ever go into effect, they will force porn sites to verify that users are over 18. Critics have said such age-verification measures pose privacy and safety concerns, as the process could link individuals’ identities to the porn they watch and may also leave them vulnerable to surveillance or data breaches.

The latest delay comes after the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport failed to update the European Commission on the guidelines it proposed for the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), the organization which was supposed to regulate the porn block.

Jim Killock, the executive director of Open Rights Group (ORG) and one of the biggest opponents of the block, called the delay “embarrassing,” but maintained it presents an opportunity for the legislators to rethink the problematic move.

“This is an opportunity for the government to address the many problems that this ill-thought through policy poses,” he told Business Insider. “Age verification providers have warned that they are not ready; the BBFC’s standard to protect data has been shown to be ineffective.”

However, Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, maintains that while the block may be delayed, it’s not going anywhere.

“Age-verification for online pornography needs to happen, and I believe it is the clear will of the house and those we represent that it should, and in the clear interests of our children that it must,” he said.

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