CAMPAIGNERS have urged the Government to amend its online safety proposals to ensure that children have the best possible protection from pornography.
With the bill in its second reading, charities and campaigners have warned the Government must not fail to protect children from porn a second time.
Christian charity CARE, which has campaigned for laws to stop kids from accessing porn for many years is concerned that the legislation falls short.
A parliamentary briefing sent out to MPs today, as the Online Safety Bill has its second reading, argues that the bill has “fundamental weaknesses.”
It points out “specific contradictions” between requirements placed on social media sites allowing user to user generated pornographic content and porn sites.
It also alleges a lack of “clarity about what will be required to prevent children accessing pornographic content” through age verification measures.
Tim Cairns, senior policy officer at CARE, commented: “We welcome the provisions in the bill on pornography given the pressing need to protect society’s most vulnerable citizens from sexually explicit content.
“The Government has a moral duty to do this and is doubly expected to do so given its broken promise to usher in age checks in 2017.
“Ministers can’t afford to let children down for a second time.
“The details of this legislation are incredibly important.
“At present, we are concerned there are significant contradictions between the requirements on social media sites and other sites in Part Three of the bill, and pornographic websites in Part Five, including the scope of requirements to protect children, and the duties on removing images of child sexual abuse and sexually violent material.
“CARE believes there needs to be equivalent treatment for all online platforms and that content regulated offline should also be regulated online.
“It is also unclear what will be mandated to ensure that children are prevented from accessing pornographic content through age verification technology cited in the bill.
“Key questions are unanswered about the design of the enforcement regime.
“And commencement details are unacceptably drafted in a way that would leave children unprotected for years after the legislation has been agreed.
“The Government must resolve these issues in a way that is acceptable to all stakeholders, and most importantly parents.”