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Monday 16 September 2019

UK porn law delayed as Varadkar considers copying it

stock photo
stock photo

Kevin Doyle and John Downing

New restrictions on access to internet pornography in the UK have been delayed - just a day after Irish politicians discussed copying the idea.

The UK was due to introduce a new age verification system which is aimed at making it dramatically more difficult for under-18s to access porn online. But the July 15 start date has now been pushed back by around six months.

British Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright announced that the delay was down to an "administrative error".

The UK government failed to tell European regulators about key aspects of the measures.

It comes after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar agreed similar laws should be considered here in the wake of the Ana Kriegel murder trial.

The proposal includes several methods of verification that an internet user is at least 18 years old. One option put forward is buying an access card over the counter, where the shop owner will be required to verify the person's age in the same way as when selling alcohol and cigarettes.

Delay: British Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Delay: British Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Websites that don't comply with the new laws can be blocked.

Speaking in Brussels yesterday, Mr Varadkar said he doesn't believe minors should be able to view porn on the internet.

"I don't think they should. If you go back to the past, when it came to pornographic magazines, it wasn't possible to sell them to under-18s.

"The internet has changed everything in that regard," Mr Varadkar said.

"Minors should not have access to pornography online. For adults, it's their own business - but for children it's different," he added.

Mr Varadkar said the UK was the first country to introduce anti-pornography controls on various social media platforms.

He said the Justice Minister will now approach the UK authorities to see how it has worked after one year in operation. "We always have to ask ourselves two questions. One, is it going to be effective? And two, could there be unintended consequences?" the Taoiseach added.

Irish Independent

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