A group of MPs have tabled an amendment to the Digital Economy Bill that would allow pornography websites to be blocked by Internet Service Providers if they fail to verify the age of their users.
Executive Director Jim Killock said:
“Perhaps these MPs have realised that plans to make all adult websites apply age verification are unworkable as foreign porn sites may simply not comply. They are now suggesting that websites who don't comply should be blocked – even though their content is perfectly legal.
“While child protection is important, this proposal is disproportionate. Censorship of this kind should be reserved for illegal and harmful content.
“We are talking about potentially thousands of websites with legal material being censored, something that is unprecedented in the developed world.”
The Digital Economy Bill has proposed that all pornography websites should be forced to verify the age of their users. This has sparked concerns that the privacy of adults could be violated. It is not yet clear how age verification will be implemented but it could lead to the collection of data on everyone who visits a porn website. This kind of information could be vulnerable to ‘Ashley Madison’ style data breaches.
This is the second time such amendments have been suggested. ORG has written about this previously here.
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Notes to Editors
The proposed amendments can be found here.