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HEART Christian newspaper | August 15, 2020

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Government in court for U-turn on porn

by Andrew Halloway

The government could be forced to introduce a ban on children watching online pornography after failing to implement plans approved by Parliament.

Regulations to require pornographers to introduce strict age-verification checks online were approved under the Digital Economy Act in December 2018, but the plans faced delays and were dropped in October 2019.

But in July the High Court allowed legal action to be launched against the government by four age-verification companies; the Court agreed it was unlawful to have withdrawn the plans. Children would have been protected because anyone visiting a pornographic website from a British IP address had to verify they were over 18 with some form of identification.

CARE (Christian Action Research and Education), which campaigned for children to be protected from access to porn, welcomed the Court’s decision and called for Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act to be implemented as agreed in 2017, rather than spending taxpayers’ money on defending the government’s U-turn in court.

A number of children’s charities are also supporting the legal action. John Carr, secretary of the coalition representing the charities, said: “During lockdown large numbers of children have been exposed to and harmed by online pornography who need not have been. If this judicial review can do the government’s work for it, then bring it on”.

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