HomeInsightsDCMS Secretary of State announces that age verification measures for online pornography under Digital Economy Act 2017 will not be launched

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In a written statement to the House of Commons, Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said that since the publication of the Government’s Online Harms White Paper in April 2019, the Government’s proposals have “continued to develop at pace” and, as it announced in the recent Queen’s Speech, it will be publishing draft legislation for pre-legislative scrutiny. Ms Morgan said that it was “important that our policy aims and our overall policy on protecting children from online harms are developed coherently in view of these developments with the aim of bringing forward the most comprehensive approach possible to protecting children”.

Accordingly, the Government has concluded that this objective of coherence will be best achieved through its wider online harms proposals and, as a consequence, it will not be commencing Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 concerning age verification for online pornography. The Digital Economy Act objectives will therefore be delivered through its proposed online harms regulatory regime. This course of action will give the regulator discretion on the most effective means for companies to meet their duty of care. As currently drafted, the Digital Economy Act does not cover social media platforms. To read the written statement in full, click here.