Will it work

Will it work

The ultimate point, as with any legislation, is will it actually work. It’s important not to let perfection become the enemy of the good but where people’s legitimate (and legal) expression is being curtailed there needs to be an element or proportionality.

First there is the scale of pornography on the internet. The BBFC themselves refer to 1.5 million new pornographic URLs coming on stream each year. It’s clearly impossible for any regulator to check that all these are compliant with legislation. The BBFC said in evidence to the Bill committee that they would target the most popular sites.

Dr Victoria Nash, the lead author of a government report into the subject said:

“It may make it harder for children to stumble across pornography, especially in the younger age range, but it will do nothing to stop determined teenagers,” and

“while I don’t have a problem with asking these companies to act responsibly, I don’t see it as a solution to stopping minors seeing pornography.”

Alternate routes to accessing pornographic material

Government research such as the DCMS expert panel has identfied that under 18s view pornography by a variety of means other than accessing websites. These includes sites such as twitter who would not be covered by the Digital Economy Act and sharing material through instant messaging.

In evidence to the Bill committee Girlguiding said that based on a survey of their members

20% of girls aged 13 to 21 have had unwanted pornographic imagery or film sent to them,

60% of girls aged 11 to 21 see boys their age viewing pornography on mobile phone devises or tablets.

Neither of these would be covered by the Act.

(Note: some of the girls in those age groups are above an age that would be covered by this legislation and there is already legislation in place to cover the sharing of pornographic images with people under 18 and sending unwanted pornographic images to someone of any age)

See here for details of other things that are wrong with Age Verification