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Porn users will have to prove their age before they can view images online from April after new law passes

  • Websites which are more than one-third pornographic will have to verify age
  • The new regulations had previously been delayed by the government  
  • Margot James told MPs that age verification will not be in place until Easter  

Terri-ann Williams For Mailonline

Porn users will have to prove their age before they can access images online from April under a new law.

Websites which harbour content which is more than one-third pornographic will be obliged to verify the age of UK visitors under the new law.

The regulations had previously been delayed as the government needed to iron out underlying issues with the new proposed regulations.

The new law is expected to implement age verification checks for anyone wishing to access porn in the UK from April.

Websites which harbour content which is more than one-third pornographic will be obliged to verify the age of UK visitors

Websites which harbour content which is more than one-third pornographic will be obliged to verify the age of UK visitors

Websites which harbour content which is more than one-third pornographic will be obliged to verify the age of UK visitors

One of the suggested methods to verify the age of viewers would require those trying to access porn to input bank card details to all pornographic websites they visit.

Its purpose is to protect children online however some academics have pointed out that the measure may not be effective in preventing minors from accessing porn.

The law has also prompted fears over surveillance, cyber security, and blackmail. It has also been suggested that the law could put government ministers and other high-profile figures at risk of blackmail if their embarrassing habits were observed by hackers.        

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Back in November Culture Minister Margot James said she hoped legislation would be in Parliament before the end of the year (2018) but that websites would need time to ‘get up to speed’ after.

She told the Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry on November 13, that the impact of social media had taken longer than hoped but ‘we have got it right’. 

Under the current scheme adult websites will have to provide their own verification software, which will then have to meet standards and checks carried out by the British Board of Film Classification. 

Margot James (pictured in the commons today) said she hoped legislation would be in Parliament before the end of the year but that websites would need time to 'get up to speed' after

Margot James (pictured in the commons today) said she hoped legislation would be in Parliament before the end of the year but that websites would need time to 'get up to speed' after

Margot James (pictured in the commons today) said she hoped legislation would be in Parliament before the end of the year but that websites would need time to ‘get up to speed’ after

Ms James said: ‘We can expect it to be in force by Easter of next year and I make that timetable through the knowledge we have laid the necessary secondary legislation before parliament.

‘I am hopeful of getting a slot to debate it before the end of the year. We have always said that we will permit the industry three months of getting up to speed with the practicalities and delivering the age verification that they will be required by law to deliver.

‘We have also had to establish with the British Board for Film Classification, which has become the regulator, and they have had to consult on the methods of age verification.

‘So it has taken longer than I would have liked but I would balance by a confidence that we have got it right.’

Ms James also said a deadline to speed up the removal of harmful content on social media is among the legislative measures being considered by the government in a bid to protect young people. 

It compels social networking sites to remove illegal content within 24 hours of it being reported, or face fines.

When asked by Labour MP Liz Kendall whether the government was considering such a move, Ms James responded: ‘Yes, I mean that would be one of the aspects of what may require new law as opposed to the many non-legislative measures that we’re still developing.’

The minister warned there are some grey areas of what is deemed illegal content and what is not, which it is expected to be addressed in a white paper this winter.

 

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