Pornography: Internet

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 1st December 2020.

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Photo of Lord Clement-Jones Lord Clement-Jones Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Digital)

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer from Baroness Barran (HL10058) from 11 November, on what basis they propose to use age assurance as opposed to age verification to prevent children accessing online pornography; what is the difference between the two measures; and what assurance they can give that they are equally effective.

Photo of Baroness Barran Baroness Barran The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Protecting children is at the heart of our online harms agenda, and wider government priorities. Our Online Harms proposals will deliver a higher level of protection for children than for the typical adult user.

Age assurance is the term used to describe the broad range of technical measures that can be used by a service to establish the age of their users. Age verification is a form of age assurance that provides the highest level of confidence in a user’s age. Currently age verification measures require a user's age to be established through a full identity verification process, for example through passport or credit card data..

We expect companies to use a proportionate range of tools, including both age assurance and age verification technologies, to prevent children accessing age-inappropriate content such as online pornography and to protect them from other harms.

We will be setting out further details on our approach for protecting children, including the use of age assurance, in the full government response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation, which will be published this year. We will follow this with legislation, which will be ready early next year.

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