3aIT Blog


LaptopBack in July last year, we wrote an article covering the government's proposed plan to impose age verification checks on all adult websites. These checks were originally supposed to come into force around about now.

However, buried in a report extolling the virtues of 5G mobile, the government added a couple of sentences about the implementation of these checks. It turns out (shock horror...) that it isn't ready yet. Amazingly(!), it seems like it's a bit more complicated than they originally assumed, and that they need more time to work out how to carry out their plans.

In brief, the plan is to put the BBFC (the company that currently decide age ratings on films and the like) in charge of rating ALL adult websites. What the months-long investigation into the practicalities of this will eventually conclude is that this is an impossible task. Websites appear far faster than it would be possible to manually review them. This leaves two options. 1. Only apply the age verification to the most popular sites. 2. Blacklist ALL websites and only allow sites through the blacklist once they've been reviewed. Obviously, the second approach would have huge implications to internet use in the UK.

On top of this, unsurprisingly, there is much debate about the prospect of using credit card details to verify age on the sites deemed 18+. The card details aren't being gathered to take payment (necessarily), but just to verify the user is over 18. However, there are obvious security concerns about giving these sites card details after years of trying to get people to be cautious with their personal info online.

The postponement is not indefinite. The new plan is for this policy to be in place by the end of the year. However, do not be surprised if this slips back further and / or gets watered down considerably once the many inherent issues have been considered properly.