FSC Offers Feedback to UK Regulator on Age Verification Guidelines

FSC Offers Feedback to UK Regulator on Age Verification Guidelines

LOS ANGELES — The Free Speech Coalition released a statement Tuesday detailing the response it submitted to U.K. media regulator Ofcom as part of a "consultation" soliciting industry feedback on the age verification guidelines in the new Online Safety Act.

The FSC statement follows:

Today, the Free Speech Coalition submitted detailed feedback on age assurance guidelines proposed by Ofcom, the regulator responsible enforcing the U.K.’s Online Safety Act. FSC's submission meticulously critiques the proposed guidance, highlighting areas of ambiguity, potential for excessive burden on small businesses, and the negative implications for adults wishing to access sexual content.

An area of great concern for FSC is the lack of clarity on what age assurance methods are considered "highly effective" and the feasibility of compliance without concrete examples or approved standards from Ofcom. We also explained the challenges and potential inequities introduced by the proposed guidance, particularly highlighting issues around cost and the unwillingness of consumers to comply with age assurance measures.

"Free Speech Coalition members agree with the goal of keeping children from material that is age-inappropriate or harmful," said Alison Boden, Executive Director of the FSC. "However, it is essential that any guidelines not only protect minors but also respect the rights of adults to access content and avoid undue burden on the providers. Our response to Ofcom’s consultation aims to shed light on the practical realities of the proposal and challenge the agency to do more to mitigate the issues it creates."

FSC looks forward to continued dialogue with Ofcom to ensure that the final regulations are fair, clear, and practical for affected platforms to comply with.

To read FSC’s response in full, click here.

For more information, visit FreeSpeechCoalition.com.

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