Conservatives Vow Strict Age Verification for U.K., Overseas Porn Sites

Apr 3, 2015 4:17 PM PST

LONDON — Internet service providers in the U.K. would be forced to block all online adult sites that fail to include effective age verification if the Conservative Party is returned to power at the general election next month.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid, in an announcement made Friday, said that the Conservatives would create laws that would fine ISPs if they did not cooperate and pull down noncomplying hardcore adult websites — both U.K.-based and overseas.

Javid said that the system would be overseen by an independent regulator with the power to compel all U.K. ISPs to patrol and block hardcore sites that don’t have effective controls, such as the CAC system that ATVOD requires for hardcore video-on-demand sites streaming in the U.K.

The CAC system that ATVOD requires verifies that the user is 18 or over at the point of access with, typically, a credit card.

In the announcement on behalf of the Tories, Javid, a member of Parliament, cited a recent Childline poll that found nearly one in 10 12-to 13-year-olds are concerned they are addicted to porn and 18 percent have seen shocking images.

Javid said: "If you want to buy a hardcore pornography DVD in a store you need to prove your age to the retailers. With the shift to online, children can access adult content on websites without restriction, intentionally or otherwise."

"As a father to four young children, I worry, like every other parent, how easy it is for them to view explicit material,” he said. "That is why we need effective controls online that apply to U.K. and overseas."

The next U.K. general election will be held on May 7 to elect the 56th Parliament.

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