UK government abandons its porn block plans

The UK government has announced that its controversial plans for a porn block to prevent children from viewing adult content online have been dropped.The porn block was first announced in 2015 and was slated to come into effect last year but it was repeatedly delayed as the government continually ran into problems regarding its implementation.Under the policy, all adult internet users that wished to view pornographic content online in the UK would have had to prove that they were over 18 by providing some form of identification. Websites that refused to implement the age checks faced being blocked by UK ISPs or having access to payment services withdrawn.The porn block however ran into legal, practical and technical difficulties. Privacy groups protested that it would be possible to connect an individual’s online browsing habits to their identity and this data could potentially be obtained by hackers, despite reassurances from age-verification sites.
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The UK government was also forced to exempt large social media sites from the porn block over fears that sites such as Twitter and Reddit could be blocked for allowing users to access adult content.
Porn block
Back in June, the implementation of the porn block was delayed for an additional six months as the government had failed to inform the EU of its proposals.In a written statement, the new digital secretary Nicky Morgan explained that although the porn block is no more, the government’s proposed online harms regulation will continue to protect children online, saying:“The government has concluded that this objective of coherence will be best achieved through our wider online harms proposals. As a consequence, will not be commencing Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 concerning age verification for online pornography. The Digital Economy Act objectives will, therefore, be delivered through our proposed online harms regulatory regime. This course of action will give the regulator discretion on the most effective means for companies to meet their duty of care.”While a nice idea to protect children from being exposed to adult content online, the porn block was overly complicated and had the potential to open the private online activities of adults up to hackers.
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Via The Independent