The UK government has finally decided to abandon its plan to impose an age verification tool for those wanting to access porn online. The plan to create such a tool has been debated at length, with it most recently being postponed for the third time a few months ago.

Now the UK government has decided to scrap the plan altogether. Instead the focus will be on protecting children via, “wider online harms proposals,” according to Nicky Morgan, the secretary of state for digital, culture, media, and sport when referring to Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 earlier this week.

“Protecting children is at the heart of our online harms agenda, and is key to wider government priorities. Going online can be beneficial for children, who use the internet for connecting with peers, to access educational resources and for entertainment,” writes Morgan in a statement regarding the decision.

“However, the government is concerned about the prevalence of adult content online, which is easily accessible to children, and believes it is vital that children are protected from accessing inappropriate, harmful content,” the secretary adds.

The reason why the porn plan was ultimately abandoned stems from criticism and fear that it would open up a number of privacy issues for people of the internet. The porn conglomerate MindGeek, which would have overseen the verification process, was also deemed to have had too much power in terms of how people accessed content on the internet.

As for its new efforts, Morgan notes that the UK government will pursue other elements aimed at protecting children online contained within the Online Harms white paper published in April of this year.

“We will continue to engage with members of Parliament on the provisions of the online harms regime to ensure the most comprehensive online harms proposals which deliver on the objectives of the Digital Economy Act,” she concludes.

[Image – Photo by Martin Castro on Unsplash]