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Internet pornography: requirement to prevent access by persons under the age of 18

Part of Digital Economy Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 20th October 2016.

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Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Minister of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) (Digital Policy) 2:00 pm, 20th October 2016

I am sure our powers of persuasion will extend that support in the future. The outbreak of support for our manifesto is welcome; this is an incredibly important area, and I am proud to lead the Front-Bench effort to deal with underage people’s access to adult material by introducing age verification. I want to respond in detail to the points made, because it is important we get this right.

Before I come to the specific amendments, I will deal with commercial providers. The measures in the Bill will apply equally to all commercial providers, whether their material is paid for directly or appears on free sites that operate on a different business model. “Commercial” has quite a broad meaning, as my hon. Friend the Member for Devizes said. If a provider makes money from a site in any way, whether or not it makes a profit, it can be caught by the legislation. That is the right distinction, because it targets those who make money and are indifferent to the harm their activities may cause to children.