The age-verification regulator: designation and funding

Part of Digital Economy Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 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) 2:45 pm, 20th October 2016

I would expect that to happen immediately. The question of the designation of the backstop enforcement regulator does not stop or preclude the BBFC from getting going on this. As we have heard, it is already working to put in place its own internal systems. As I have just said to the Committee, we have a new commitment that we expect to commence the provisions in terms of getting the system up and running within 12 months of Royal Assent; after that, if the BBFC has designated that there is a problem, I would expect action to be immediate, because I expect the BBFC to ensure through good relations that systems are in place.

I see enforcement very much as a back-up to good behaviour. As we have seen with the taking down of child pornography and material related to terrorism, many providers and platforms respond rapidly when such material is identified. It will be far better if the system works without having to resort to enforcement. We will set out in due course who is best placed to be the regulator for enforcement, but the system is new, and the approach provides the level of flexibility that we need to get it right. I have every confidence in the BBFC’s ability and enthusiasm to deliver on these aims, so I commend the clause to the Committee.