MPs considering blocking adult sites which don't add age verification

The Open Rights Group came out fighting yesterday after Tory MP Claire Perry tried to push amendments into the Digital Economy Bill 2016-17. The amendments, should they become law, would block adult websites which don’t implement age verification measures.. It has sparked worries that this could lead to other sites that the government deems unsuitable to be blocked later down the road.

The amendments put forward by Tory MP Claire Perry and the Labour party are:

  • New clause 8 – Duty to provide a service that excludes adult-only content
  • New clause 6 – Requirement to cease services to non-complying persons
  • New clause 11 – Power to make regulations about blocking injunctions preventing access to locations on the internet

The new plans would push forward the Tories’ blocking efforts. A couple of years ago, it made ISPs give customers an option to easily enable adult site blocking, of which some ISPs introduced a default-on approach, with the option to disable filtering.

For these measures to be even slightly effective (they will never block all adult content), the government would also need to block VPN sites (and the connections to the VPN networks), proxy sites, and other sites which allow downloads of programs like Tor which can also evade filters, doing any of this would cause a bit of a stir.

Unfortunately for those looking to turn to VPN services or Tor, the Digital Economy Bill will try to target those who "enable or facilitate the making available of pornographic material or prohibited material on the internet". Given the rather vague terminology, the impact to companies, such as VPN providers, could be severely impacted.

Source: Open Rights Group via ISP Review | Adult content image via Shutterstock

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