Porn age verification could cost £10MILLION in legal battles against Tory government

Porn age verification could cost £10MILLION in legal battles against Tory government

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Tory ministers have quietly admitted their porn crackdown could cost £10MILLION in legal battles – in the first year alone.

The money has been earmarked by the Treasury to pay for challenges to the “age verification” policy when it finally enters force in the UK.

Under the plans – which have already been delayed to “get it right” – commercial porn sites will be forced to show they are verifying users are over 18.

Failure to do so could block firms from taking credit card payments or even see their sites blocked by service providers in the UK.

But campaigners have complained of an “absence of safeguards for privacy and security” and questioned how it will work in practice.

Failure to do so could block firms from taking credit card payments

Yesterday ministers unveiled new details of which sites will be affected by the policy when it is run by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).

However, they admitted that despite “effective work” with porn sites and charities, there is a “risk” of legal challenge.

“The Government estimates a realistic risk range to be between £1m – £10m in the first year, based on likely number and scale of legal challenges,” digital minister Margot James said in a written statement.

“This is a new law and there remains a risk that the BBFC will be exposed to legal challenge on the basis of decisions taken as the age verification regulator or on grounds of principle from those opposed to the policy.”

Margot James said there is a “realistic risk” of having to pay out £10m

There is still no date set to launch the policy, the government confirmed today, despite ex-Culture Secretary Matt Hancock originally claiming it would be “fully in place” by “April 2018”.

When the plans were delayed, the announcement was sneaked out at the bottom of a 3,400-word press release about 5G on the Orkney Islands.

Government officials said only commercial porn sites will be covered by the policy, not social media sites and blogs.

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