The Digital Economy Act received Royal Assent on 27th April 2017, and the DPA’s Age Verification Group can be justly proud of its achievements. The issues surrounding Online Pornography under the DEA are now of continuing importance to only a section of the AVG as a whole, and the ‘Age Verification Regulations Subgroup’ has been formed to monitor and where appropriate respond to DCMS draft guidance to BBFC as the AV Regulator, and other related legislative measures. The Subgroup’s aim is to try to ensure that none of the important gains achieved during the progress of the Digital Economy Bill through Parliament are lost.
To reflect this change of emphasis, the main Group, now named the ‘Age Verification and Internet Safety Group (AVIS)’, has turned its focus to other sectors where there is a known, and likely growing, demand for effective, trusted, secure and reliable digital online AV solutions.
- To identify how rigorous, secure and effective digital age verification controls might be applied more generally for child online protection and assisting in their implementation.
- To establish approval for digital age verification mechanisms meeting the standard set out in the BSI’s Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 1296, Online Age Verification, which is due to be published in January 2018.
The DPA AV portal (http://dpatechgateway.co.uk/) showcases examples of AV solutions/use cases, in all sectors, enabling DPA members to demonstrate operational digital AV solutions to interested parties.
Next EventsNo meeting dates currently arranged
Parliamentary Chair: Earl of Erroll
Industry Chair: Julie Dawson (Yoti)
Rapporteur: Dave Wright
Summary of Recent Activity
The first meeting of the DPA Age Verification and Internet Safety Group took place on Tuesday 19th September in Westminster. The main purpose of the meeting was to address the wider application of age‐gating to sectors other than adult, with an assumption that the Digital Economy Act is likely to act as a template for the roll-out of AV to e.g. knives, e‐cigarettes, alcohol, etc.
An initial list of official stakeholders has been drawn up, and contact established with both the Home Office and DCMS. The Group has established editorial teams to respond to the Home Office Consultation on new legislation on offensive and dangerous weapons, and to the parallel DCMS Green Paper on the Government’s Internet Safety Strategy. Deadlines for submission of responses are in early December, and the Group plans to give presentations of operational, secure and effective online digital AV solutions to ministers, officials, parliamentarians, stakeholders and interested parties.
The Group is also working on realising the Group's key objective of gaining recognition and approval for the deployment of digital age verification mechanisms (meeting the standard set out in Publicly Available Specification 1296 on Online Age Verification and developed alongside the Digital Economy Act), across the range of age-restricted products and services in the UK. This includes online, in-store/self-checkout purchases and doorstep delivery or pickup situations. The DPA AV portal (http://dpatechgateway.co.uk/) has been refreshed and now showcases examples of AV solutions/use cases, in sectors other than adult, enabling DPA members to demonstrate operational digital AV solutions to interested parties across different sectors.
DPA member Yoti is the APPG sponsor of the new APPG for Digital Identity, which had its inaugural session on 27th November. Senior representatives from the key industry sectors have been invited to outline the potential applications of digital identity and the current legislative challenges for their sectors. Key themes are:
- Financial services - biometric know your customer (KYC) checks
- Recruitment Industry - recruitment screening and right to work checks
- Supermarket - age verification at self-checkout
- Night-time economy - age verification
- Property - biometric know your customer (KYC) checks for conveyancing and digital identity for right to rent checks
Following the inaugural session of the Digital Identity APPG attendees and wider stakeholders will be given the opportunity to input suggestions and rationales for topics for the APPG to address during the course of its five proposed meetings in 2018.
The Group may also wish to address the need for effective age-verification controls across social media platforms. The Digital Charter in the Conservative Manifesto contains a pledge to ensure that digital companies, social media platforms and content providers abide by the law and protect privacy and security, with a sanctions regime that will ensure compliance, giving regulators the ability to fine or prosecute companies that fail in their legal duties, and to order the removal of content where it clearly breaches UK law.