Internet: Pornography

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 6th September 2021.

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Photo of Fleur Anderson Fleur Anderson Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will bring forward proposals to strengthen age verification for legal pornography in the Online Safety Bill.

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State

The strongest protections in the draft Online Safety Bill, published in May 2021, are for children. Where pornography sites host user generated content or facilitate online user interactions (including video and image sharing, commenting and live streaming), they will be in scope of the Online Safety Bill.

The online safety regime will capture the most visited pornography sites, social media platforms, video-sharing sites, forums and via image or video search engines. Companies will be required to protect children from harmful content such as online pornography, or face enforcement action by the regulator, which could include significant fines or, in the most egregious cases, Ofcom can apply for access to be restricted in the UK.

The Government recognises the concerns that have been raised about protecting children from online pornography on services which do not currently fall within the scope of the Bill. The Government will use the draft Bill’s pre-legislative scrutiny to explore ways to provide wider protections for children from online pornography, including on sites that do not fall within scope of the duty of care.

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