Wednesday 16 October 2019 / 3:38 PM Digital / Tom Watson

Government drops Age Verification laws – Watson responds

Tom Watson MP, Labour’s Shadow Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, commenting on the government announcement it is dropping Age Verification laws, said:

“Mistakes, mishaps and multiple delays have characterised this government’s attempts to introduce Age Verification. The government has now dropped the pretence and admitted it isn’t going to implement it after all. This whole process has been a shambles, and the government must declare how much public money has been spent on this failed policy.

“The new online harms regulation must not meet the same fate. The government has a moral duty to protect children, young people and other vulnerable groups at risk of online harms. There isn’t time to waste.”


Notes to Editors:

  • Labour expressed serious concerns about the viability of age verification during its passage through law in the Digital Economy Bill
  • The introduction of Age Verification has previously been delayed twice – last April and this June. The last delay was blamed on an ‘admin error’ by government officials.
  • Internet companies are seriously undermining child safety in other ways – google and Firefox are planning to introduce new systems (DNS over HTTPS) that will mean the websites that users visit on the internet are encrypted and totally hidden from Internet Service Providers. This will undermine the framework the government outlined in the internet safety white paper and will mean ISPs will not be able to use ‘blocking’ as the ultimate sanction on rogue sites