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Age-verification under the Digital Economy Act 2017

Under the Digital Economy Act, all online commercial pornography services accessible from the UK will be required to carry age-verification tools to prevent children from seeing content which isn’t appropriate for them. 

The BBFC's Guidance on Age-verification Arrangements and Guidance on Ancillary Service Providers have been laid in parliament by the Secretary of State for the final parliamentary approval process. These documents set out the criteria by which the BBFC will assess whether age-verification services and online pornography providers have met with the requirements of the act, and the classes of ancillary service provider (such as social media or search engines), that the BBFC will consider notifying to request the removal of services if a site fails to comply. The guidance is published on our Age-verification website https://www.ageverificationregulator.com/industry/guidance/.

The BBFC’s Guidance sets out a high standard for robust age-verification controls to ensure that children cannot normally access pornographic services. The standards proposed are higher than any existing age-verification requirements in the UK. The BBFC is confident that the standards will continue to allow and encourage innovation in this space.

Under the Digital Economy Act, age-verification means proving that someone is 18 or over. The act does not require personal identification. For the most part, age-verification services are provided by third party companies, and not pornographic websites themselves.

A number of age-verification providers have created new robust ways to verify age with minimal requirements for personal data in response to this new regulation coming into force.

As a further measure, the BBFC will be launching a voluntary age-verification certification scheme with support of the government and the ICO, which will provide information to the public to demonstrate how these age-verification providers have met high standards of data protection. The results of this certification scheme will be reported on the BBFC’s website. Under the scheme, age-verification providers may choose to be independently audited by a third party and then certified by the BBFC. The BBFC will publish more details about this initiative on our age-verification website in due course.


More information about the guidance, including the consultation, voluntary certification scheme and the BBFC's role as the Age-verification Regulator can be found on our Age-verification website : www.ageverificationregulator.com

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