Age Verification Plans – Click Off Response

On Wednesday 16th  October 2019, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Nicky Morgan MP, announced that the government will not be commencing Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 concerning age verification for online pornography.

A mounting body of evidence demonstrates that consumption of online pornography is harmful to the healthy development of children and young people. Given this, Click Off consider the scrapping of age verification a retrograde and cowardly climb-down.

During the two years since the Digital Economy Act was passed the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has come under sustained pressure from those advocating on behalf of the pornography industry, often under the auspices of the right to free expression and privacy. 

In rejecting the implementation of age verification technology, the government has effectively prioritised the right of adult men to watch pornography above the right of everyone to live in a society where rape and abuse are not filmed for entertainment.

Click Off look forward to a statement of clarification from the government and a full explanation as to how the government’s stated ‘unwavering’ commitment to protecting children online can be met without age verification.