What’s the Latest News on the DEA?
The Digital Economy Act (DEA) 2017 is set to be “in force” by Easter 2019, according to the UK government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Minister for digital and creative industries, Margot James MP.
Ms James spoke with MPs on the Commons Science and Technology Committee in November and said that although “it has taken longer than [she] would have liked” there is a sense that ministers have now “got it right” in terms of developing a workable system for protecting young users from harmful online content.
Initially, the age verification system was aimed to be in place by April 2018, but government ministers and service providers within the adult industry have since been grappling with how the DEA will work in practice.
Currently, it appears adult websites will have to provide their own age verification software, which must also meet the standards and checks undertaken by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).
Ms James also suggested that some social media platforms could eventually be incorporated into the DEA’s age verification system in the future. That’s after her fellow MPs revealed that adult material was easily available on many social networks too.
“We will also keep a close eye on how social media platforms develop in terms of the extent of pornographic material on those platforms, particularly if they are platforms that appeal to children,” said James.
A spokesman for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport confirmed that the government aims to have DEA legislation “in place by the end of the year, subject to Parliamentary proceedings”. It’s unclear yet whether the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s Brexit negotiations will have a bearing on whether the legislation is ratified this month.
The spokesman also revealed that, once the legislation is in place, the government would be giving online commercial pornography services a “three-month implementation period” before the powers will “come into force”. This means that the effective start date for the DEA would be in and around Easter 2019.
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