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Ofcom Fines Playboy £100,000 For Failing To Protect Children From Porn

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Ofcom rules that Playboy age verification measures were insufficient on two of its websites

Ofcom has fined Playboy £100,000 for failing to protect children from potentially harmful pornographic material on two of its sites in the UK.

The UK communications watchdog issued the penalties after ruling that Playboy TV and Demand Adult allowed users to access hardcore videos and images without having effective age verification measures in place.

The severity of the fine is due to the “serious, repeated and reckless” failures to protect under-18s from seeing the content and follows its decision to fine online adult content website Strictly Broadband £60,000 for its own insufficient age controls.

Ofcom Playboy Fine

Unlike other pornographic websites, Playboy’s websites are regulated by Ofcom and the Authority for Video On Demand (ATVOD) because they provide access to videos in a similar way to how adult services broadcast on television and therefore fall within UK jurisdiction.

Ofcom said Demand Adult accounted for £65,000 of the fine for displaying hardcore pornography on its homepage alongside a button labelled ‘Enter, I am over 18’and for only requiring a debit card to purchase additional content. Unlike credit cards, debit cards can be obtained by under 18s.

The remainder of the penalty was issued for Playboy TV, which also required to users to self-certify their age, however the sexual material on the homepage was not explicit. The purchase of additional content was also possible without a credit card.

Ofcom said that there are a number of controls that websites can use to verify the ages of users, including asking for credit card details before any adult content at all is made accessible, but Playbot chose to employ none of these measures. It added that the size of the fine reflected “the serious nature of these breaches.”

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