Read the full article by Lynsey G at YNOT.com

 

Yet another reminder that trying to legislate porn blocks is never a good idea: Four companies who sank millions into the development of age-verification software for the British government—AgeChecked Ltd, VeriMe, AVYourself, and AVSecure—are now demanding £3 million in damages, since the “porn block” they developed it for has been scrapped.

Stuart Lawley, the CEO of one of the companies, AVSecure, told the Telegraph’s Mike Wright that his company, “had been preparing for up to 10 million people signing up for the service on day one. ‘We are millions of pounds out of pocket, me personally millions, we have people who don’t have jobs anymore as a result of this,’” he said.

The plan to block underage internet users from accessing pornographic websites, known as the UK “Porn Block,” was abandoned after multiple delays in October 2019 by Secretary of State Baroness Nicky Morgan amid concerns over the privacy of personal identification information being stored by private companies.

Digital privacy groups in the UK and internationally were appalled by the risks. “The big mistake the BBFC made, in our opinion, was when they pushed ahead with the voluntary code without public consultation,” Jim Killock, executive director at the Open Rights Group, told Wired. “What we had was a voluntary scheme, invented at the last minute, which hopefully companies would abide by but they were not under any obligation to.”