Over the last few years, the UK Government has been on a crusade against pornographic or adult content on the web. In mid-2013, then Prime Minister David Cameron foreshadowed that such content would be blocked by default, with customers having to 'opt-in' with their ISP to regain access.
Unfortunately, the 'porn filter' ended up incorrectly blocking websites, including rape crisis centers and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community site for UK Liberal Democrats party. However, according to a 2014 survey, three of the top four UK ISPs saw a staggering 92% of their customers opting out of the filter.
Now, the UK Government has announced its next step in regulating access to online adult content. Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport, Karen Bradley said:
“The Government is committed to keeping children safe from harmful pornographic content online and that is exactly what we are doing.
Only adults should be allowed to view such content and we have appointed a regulator, BBFC, to make sure the right age checks are in place to make that happen. If sites refuse to comply, they should be blocked.”
The proposed legislation would provide the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) the power to compel UK ISPs to block adult websites that fall short of the UK's age verification requirements. It also includes measures that would force payment processing providers, such as Visa and MasterCard, to suspend services provided to non-compliant websites.
The UK Government has claimed that the top 50 adult websites account for 70% of users. While it didn't disclose a specific number, the Government said that "many" of those sites were willing to comply with the new requirements.