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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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New clause 11—Power to make regulations about blocking injunctions preventing access to locations on the internet—

“(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision about the granting by a court of a blocking injunction in respect of a location on the internet which the court is satisfied has been, is being or is likely to be used for or in connection with an activity that is contravening, or has contravened, section 15(1) of this Act.

(2) “Blocking injunction” means an injunction that requires an internet service provider to prevent its service being used to gain access to a location on the internet.

(3) Regulations introduced under subsection (1) above may, in particular—

(a) make provision about the type of locations against which a blocking injunction should be granted;

(b) make provision about the circumstances in which an application can be made for a blocking injunction;

(c) outline the type of circumstances in which the court will grant a blocking injunction;

(d) specify the type of evidence, and other factors, which the court must take into account in determining whether or not to grant a blocking injunction;

(e) make provision about the notice, and type of notice, including the form and means, by which a person must receive notice of an application for a blocking injunction made against them; and

(f) make provision about any other such matters as the Secretary of State considers are necessary in relation to the granting of a blocking injunction by the court.

(4) Regulations under this subsection must be made by statutory instrument.

(5) A statutory instrument containing regulations under this section may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.

(6) In this Part— “Internet service provider” has the same meaning as in section 16 of the Digital Economy Act 2010. In the application of this Part to Scotland “injunction” means interdict.”.

This new Clause empowers the Secretary of State to introduce regulations in relation to the granting of a backstop blocking injunction by a court. The injunction would require an internet service provider to prevent access to a site or sites which do not comply with the age-verification requirements. This would only be used where the other enforcement powers (principally fines) had not been effective in ensuring that sites put in place effective age-verification.