UK AV announcement is a side-step, not a step-down

UK AV announcement is a side-step, not a step-down

As news ripples around the world of the UK side-stepping Age Verification, it’s important to get the facts right. The UK’s announcement is not a step-down from Age Verification but merely a side-step. 

Interpreting the UK statement correctly, all indications point to the fact that Age Verification has not gone away but will be included as part of a different regulatory framework—their proposed online harms regulatory regime. This course of action still expects companies to meet their duty of care and will also cover social media platforms.

What much of the press has failed to cover in this latest development is the UK’s continued commitment to “becoming a world-leader in the development of online safety technology and to ensure companies of all sizes have access to, and adopt, innovative solutions to improve the safety of their users. This includes age verification tools and we expect them to continue to play a key role in protecting children online.” The UK announcement spells out that “The government’s commitment to protecting children online is unwavering. Adult content is too easily accessed online and more needs to be done to protect children from harm.”

eChildhood is in consultation with various experts in the UK on this most recent development and more details will no doubt emerge in the coming days as everyone understands how AV in the UK will be adopted within their new proposed regulatory framework. 

That said, from our perspective, it’s business as usual here in Australia. eChildhood, along with many other child safety advocates from around the world, remain committed to seeing Age Verification implemented as one cog among many. 

Our dedication is to children within Australia, and right now, there is one week remaining for our supporters to act and to put forward submissions into the inquiry into age verification for online wagering and online pornography—closing October 25.

AV is not a “silver bullet”. Other digital child protection buffers are needed to sit alongside AV—education will always be an important piece; however, AV is an essential child protection measure that concerned Australians need to support.

Protecting children from online pornography harms is at the heart of everything eChildhood stands for. This issue is one of the biggest child safety & child rights violations of our time. Companies have a responsibility to prevent these harms and Age Verification is one such mechanism that delivers a level of protection. Underpinning these changes is a robust public health response that incorporates everyone’s involvement. Nelson Mandela sums it up well:

Each of us, as citizens, have a role to play in creating a better world for our children.

eChildhood is recommending to the Australian Government that the implementation of an Age Verification system to restrict minors’ access to all commercial porn web sites is good government policy—and as a nation, we are perfectly positioned to take the lead by implementing this child protection measure.

Further information made available after the publication date (17.10.19) confirms the accuracy of this news update: