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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 2:30 pm on 20th October 2016.

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Photo of Louise Haigh Louise Haigh Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport) (Digital Economy) 2:30 pm, 20th October 2016

The BBFC witness explicitly said last week that

“we suggested, in our submission of evidence to the consultation back in the spring, that ISP blocking ought to be part of the regulator’s arsenal.”––[Official Report, Digital Economy Public Bill Committee, 11 October 2016; c. 41, Q91.]

The BBFC says that notification of payment providers or ancillary services providers and fines may not be sufficient. I appreciate that porn sites might well use different URLs to evade it, but why has the Minister explicitly removed ISP blocking as a further backstop power? We are not talking about blocking too many sites; we have been very clear that it is intended as a backstop power when other measures fail.