Department of Culture, Media and Sport plans to force adult-themed websites to carry out age verification checks
A government body is proposing new guidelines for websites featuring adult content, which could see them forced to implement age verification tools.
Under the new rules from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the owners of any UK-registered domains that feature any adult content could need to implement software that enable them to check people’s ages.
This is already the case already with gambling websites, but under the new guidelines will also affect sites which feature pornography, the selling of guns, or any website which could involve bank-approved software or credit cards.
The DCMS legislation, which will be overseen by Treasury minister Andrea Leadsom, would only initially affect British-based websites, and could use UK-approved companies such as PayPal and Visa to act as verification tools.
“We take the issue of child safety online very seriously and have set out a series of robust measures, including family friendly filters, to help keep children safe online,” a DCMS source told The Independent.
“We are always looking at ways to build on these measures to make children even safer.”
The DCMS raised eyebrows last July when it unveiled its communications policy which contained a focus on ensuring consumers were protected from “harmful content”.
It also announced it would be working with the UK’s major ISPs to implement better filters for online content. An Ofcom reported earlier this year found that this initiative, which offered new customers of Sky, Virgin Media, BT and TalkTalk an “opt-out” filter for adult content, was now successfully up and running, despite extremely low take-up of the option.
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