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Queen’s Speech forces porn sites to verify users’ ages in Tory crackdown to protect children

Queen Speech

Porn sites will be forced to verify users’ ages as part of a Tory crackdown confirmed today in the Queen’s Speech.

Strict rules in the Digital Economy Bill will force porn-lovers to go beyond just saying “yes, I’m 18” – and could ask for their credit card details.

Plans to bring forward the long-promised Tory pledge were confirmed at the pomp-laden State Opening of Parliament.

It comes a month after Tory ministers ended a consultation with porn sites and children’s groups over the planned law.

One in five 11-to-17-year-olds have seen porn that “shocked or upset them”, briefing notes to the Bill say.

Read more: What is in the Queen’s Speech 2016? All 21 Bills – and what they mean

But speculation is rife over what form the new measures will take – and there are doubts over how to get firms to obey the law.

The government has already ruled out allowing “yes, I’m 18” checkboxes, saying that would not be “satisfactorily robust”.

Porn sites will instead be told to introduce one of a range of measures depending on what works for them.

These could include taking details from an over-18s-only credit card or checking people’s details against the electoral roll.

The law will apply to all sites showcasing material in the UK, officials say – despite the nightmare of trying to pursue firms based offshore.

Kids on social media
One in five children have seen porn online that “shocked or upset them”

Officials hope they will be able to persuade firms by cutting off funds from the UK when they have premium sections on their website.

The government could contact credit card providers and tell them to shut off payments to rogue sites in accordance with UK law.

There are still uncertainties over how blog sites and those funded by advertising will be controlled.

The Digital Economy Bill, one of 21 unveiled today, also gives everyone the legal right to demand broadband of 10Mbps.

The Bill was one of 21 unveiled today during the Queen’s Speech

The “very remotest properties” will have to pay some of the cost themselves.

Customers will get automatic compensation from broadband firms when things go wrong.

And public bodies will identify people who owe the government money more quickly, clawing back billions – some of it from the hard-up.

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