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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 2:15 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) 2:15 pm, 20th October 2016

The aim is that even though the regulator may be different in those two cases, the result would be the same. I can give the hon. Lady that assurance. The Bill will do that without having double regulation. As we discussed earlier with regard to a different part of the Bill, having double regulation in the same area can lead to confusion and worse outcomes, rather than clarity and better outcomes.

A service that falls within part 4A of the Communications Act 2003—that is to say, one that is outwith the proposals —must not contain any specially restricted material, unless that material is made available in a manner that secures that persons under the age of 18 will not normally see or hear it. Specially restricted material includes R18 material and other material that might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of persons under the age of 18. Our intention is that such other material should include material that the BBFC would describe as 18 sex works. I think that answers precisely the point that the hon. Lady was making.