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ATVOD acts against two UK VOD services for failing to protect children from online porn

News article: 10th February 2015

ATVOD ACTS AGAINST TWO UK VOD SERVICES FOR FAILING TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM ONLINE PORN 


ATVOD publishes determinations that two further ‘adult’ services breached statutory rules requiring UK video on demand providers to keep hardcore porn out of reach of children

 

Two more providers of on-line porn have fallen foul of media regulators for failing to keep hardcore porn videos and still images beyond the reach of children.

 

Videos featuring explicit images of real sex could be accessed by children on the internet services, in breach of a statutory rule.

 

Today’s findings by the Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) - which come on Safer Internet Day - bring to more than 170 the number of porn websites against which the regulator has acted over the past three years for failing to protect children.

 

The two online video on demand services – Daisy Rock UK and She Bang TV - were held to be in breach of a statutory rule which requires that material which might seriously impair under 18’s can only be made available if access is blocked to children.

 

The services allowed under 18s access to explicit hardcore porn videos which could be viewed on-demand. Yet the content of the videos was equivalent to that which could be sold only to adults in licensed sex shops if supplied on DVD. 

 

The services each broke the statutory rules in two ways. Firstly, they allowed any visitor free, unrestricted access to hardcore pornographic video promos/trailers or still images featuring real sex in explicit detail. Secondly, access to the full videos was open to any visitor who paid a fee. As the services accepted payment methods – such as debit cards – which can be used by under 18’s, ATVOD  held that the services had also failed to put in place effective access controls in relation to the full videos.

 

Following enforcement action by ATVOD, the operator of Daisy Rock UK acted to put the hardcore porn material out of reach of children. It has also lodged an appeal with Ofcom against a separate ATVOD ruling – also published today – that the service falls within the scope of the statutory rules.

 

The operator of She Bang TV failed to become fully compliant in accordance with a timetable set by ATVOD. The service provider has therefore been referred to Ofcom for consideration of a sanction, a procedure which can lead to operators being fined - Playboy TV was fined £100,000 for similar breaches in 2013 - or having their right to provide a service suspended, as happened in relation to the service Jessica Pressley. 

 

The rulings come on Safer Internet Day – an initiative supported by ATVOD and which aims to make the internet a better place by promoting the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.

 

Despite this latest action, ATVOD counsels against complacency as most websites which allow UK children to access hardcore pornography operate from outside the UK and therefore fall outside ATVOD’s remit.

 

ATVOD Chair Ruth Evans said:

 

“ATVOD will continue to discuss with policy makers further options for reducing the exposure of children to pornography and other potentially harmful VOD material on websites based both inside and outside the UK. We strongly support initiatives designed to improve the take up of parental control software.”


ATVOD Chief Executive Pete Johnson said:


“ Almost 90% of British adults think it is important that UK providers are required to take the steps set out in the ATVOD Rules and Guidance to ensure that under 18’s can’t see hardcore porn material[1]. We have made good progress in ensuring that UK operators of regulated VOD services comply with those rules, but we are not complacent and will continue to monitor relevant services and act as required.


Our recent enforcement activity has sent a clear message that UK providers of hardcore pornography on demand must take effective steps to ensure that such material is not accessible to under-18’s. Asking visitors to a website to click an ‘I am 18’ button or enter a date of birth or use a debit card is not sufficient – if they are going to offer explicit sex material they must know that their customers are 18, just as they would in the ‘offline’ world.”


The full text of the determinations can be found at:

 

http://atvod.co.uk/uploads/files/Rules_1&4_FD_Daisy_Rock_UK_FOR_PUBLICATION.pdf

 

http://atvod.co.uk/uploads/files/Rule_11_FD_Daisy_Rock_UK_FOR_PUBLICATION.pdf

 

http://atvod.co.uk/uploads/files/Rules_1&4_FD_She_Bang_TV_FOR_PUBLICATION.pdf

 

http://atvod.co.uk/uploads/files/Rule_11_FD_She_Bang_TV_FOR_PUBLICATION.pdf



[1] According to ICM Research, full details at:

 http://www.atvod.co.uk/news-consultations/news-consultationsnews/20121203-porn-and-hatred-online