Is the Digital Economy Act a step too far from the nanny state?
You may encounter plenty of hyperbolic headlines like that one aimed at injecting passion and emotion into an otherwise banal discussion about the best way to protect children from content they were never intended to consume. Don’t take the bait. Instead ask yourself, does the Digital Economy Act do something worthwhile with as little inconvenience as possible? We believe without any doubt it surely does.
The Digital Economy Act (DEA) in the UK requires consumers and merchants to use age verification services online. Some critics of the policy suggest that this is really one step too close to a nanny state, which is one where the state has too much surveillance over the people they govern. However, the policy is welcomed by a lot of people on both sides of the equation and not viewed as step towards a nanny state. Here’s why.
First of all, the DEA seeks to verify and protect, not censor, and it actually leaves room for less censorship. Once we can verify that everyone accessing adult materials is of the proper age, because they are all using age verification programs like AVSecure, there will be little to no ground for other groups who would like more censorship because it is truly only consenting adults looking at this material at this time.
A nanny state is defined as a government interfering with “personal choice.” Well, yes, the DEA could be seen as taking away personal choice from people, but it actually gives you more choice. As an adult you can choose to go wholeheartedly into your web browsing and use AVSecure to verify your age to look at adult materials by uploading your personal documents or by using an anonymous age verification card. Those who do not want to see this type of material will not have to look at it, even by accident, which gives everyone more choice overall. It really works best for everyone.
If you don’t want to see ads for adult material online because you’re offended by it or you’re not of age, you shouldn’t be able to stumble onto a site where you could accidentally see something untoward that would ruin your day or offend you. So, a nanny state might be going a bit to far when describing the DEA. However, it certainly shows that the UK government cares about the people who do not want to accidentally see something online as well as those who want to look at this adult content responsibly.