U.K. Lawsuit Demanding Implementation of Age Verification Moves Forward

LONDON — A U.K. judge allowed a coalition of age verification companies and pro-regulation nonprofits on Thursday to move forward with their legal battle to compel the government to introduce a mandatory age verification system for adult content.

After a High Court hearing over Skype, recently appointed High Court Family Division judge Mrs Justice Nathalie Lieven ruled, “I express no views beyond arguablility on the merits of the case,” which paves the way for the plaintiffs to move forward and ask the government for the paperwork that resulted in the decision last October to backtrack with plans to implement the age verification system.

The four age verification companies that brought the case were AgeChecked, AVSecure, AVYourself and VeriMe, supported by NSPCC, Barnardo’s, the Children’s Society and other pro-regulation nonprofits referred to in the media as “children’s charities.”

According to a Telemedia report, “the hearing, which took place over Skype, began at noon and was originally scheduled to last for one hour, but in the end, complex constitutional arguments ran until past 4 p.m., as Alan Payne QC, representing the campaigners, faced the government’s most senior barrister, Sir James Eadie QC.”

Judge Lieven’s ruling, Telemedia reports, “paves the way for a full hearing on the substantive arguments. Crucially, Number 10 and DCMS are now obliged to disclose all the relevant internal paper, correspondence and even WhatsApp messages leading up to the announcement last October, which came at the time the Government was desperately trying to call a general election.”

XBiz Article here.

Notice who’s doing the lawsuit… the verification companies. I bet it’s not from the goodness of their heart or concern for minors, they want it to go through so they can earn money.

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This is worrying because it comes at the same time MPs are pushing for a new bill to combat risks to public health and misinformation.
We do have a real problem right now with groups of people pushing bizarre and dangerous conspiracy theories about everything from 5G to vaccines, but I’m really concerned these fanatical anti-porn campaigners will use it as a means to push their censorship.

I’m hoping it’ll be limited to holding social media companies accountable for the propaganda and lies they allow to spread on their platforms but I’m genuinely concerned the rabid puritan mob will hijack this for their own ends.

I can guaratee you that social media companies wont be held responsible, the only ones they will filter/ban/block will be smaller companies.

The lawsuit is understandable, those companies invested money creating a product the British government was going to require the industry to use. And the government was working closely with a number of them. The companies just want to recuperate their investment.

But I’m not sure suing the government ever bodes well the one bringing the suit, the government just drags it out and buries them in paper.

Related to that… France just passed age verification. Somehow I think they’ll run into all the same obstacles that the UK ran into…

Noticed that too!

Germany and France are considering similar legislation so I guess we will all need to be ready for it regardless…