ICO urged to introduce age verification for commercial pornography sites

6th December, 2021 8:54 am

Child safety groups have threatened legal action against the UK data watchdog if it does not introduce age verification checks for pornography online.

The Children’s Charities’ Coalition on Internet Safety, which represents 11 children’s charities including the NSPCC and Barnardo’s, told the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) that it would bring a High Court challenge if it did not take action.

In a letter to the ICO the group warned that the government’s failure to stop children seeing porn was causing lifelong trauma and put children at risk of abuse and exploitation, The Guardian reports. The group has called on the ICO to use powers under the recently introduced age appropriate design code to introduce rigorous verification methods.

John Carr, secretary of the coalition and the author of the letter, has written to the information commissioner to urge action. The ICO has previously said that the age code was not intended to impose age restrictions on porn sites.

The letter states: “You remain the only person in the country with the power to act to protect another generation of children.” Carr said the coalition could seek a judicial review if the ICO declined to act.

Plans for age verification for online porn in the UK were ditched in 2019 when the government said it would instead focus on including child protection in the Online Safety Bill, which is about to be put through parliament.

Source: The Times


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