Age Verification - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:31 pm on 20th June 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Baroness Benjamin Baroness Benjamin Liberal Democrat 2:31 pm, 20th June 2019

My Lords, the Minister is well aware of my long-standing support for this age-verification regime and will not be surprised to learn how disappointed I am to hear about this delay. This means that more innocent children will be able to accidentally stumble across pornography, which, research has shown, will have harmful effects on their well-being. This is a huge price to pay for an unavoidable mistake. While I accept the Minister’s assurance that this is a DCMS administrative error, I would be grateful for confirmation that, as soon as the necessary processes have been undertaken with the Commission, the Government will announce the entry into force of this new regime.

It is important that we know that the Government intend to resolve this issue as soon as possible. We need to hear that time and time again. I would also be grateful for reassurance that this delay is in no way related to underlying privacy concerns that I know are being put forward by groups opposed to age verification in principle. I have met the BBFC and age-verification providers and believe that their additional protections are robust. Will the Minister confirm that the BBFC still has the full support of the Government for this certification, which was developed with the support of the department? Can the Minister please reassure me, all the people who have supported this regime and the children who will suffer, that he will take action to protect them as soon as possible?