UK quietly ditches porn age checks in favor of wider online harms rules

A controversial UK government scheme to introduce mandatary age checks for accessing online pornography has been dropped — for now. Introduction of the measure, which was intended to protect children from accessing inappropriate content online, had already been delayed by several months this year, most recently after a bureaucratic oversight. The technical and regulatory challenges of introducing age verification across adult websites has attracted much criticism, including from privacy campaigns concerned it would sum to logs of porn viewing habits linked to personal IDs. The reason given for ditching the plan now is the government says it has decided it no longer makes sense to introduce the age check provision at this stage — given wider plans to introduce comprehensive …

Loot boxes in games are gambling and should be banned for kids, say UK MPs

UK MPs have called for the government to regulate the games industry’s use of loot boxes under current gambling legislation — urging a blanket ban on the sale of loot boxes to players who are children. Kids should instead be able to earn in-game credits to unlock look boxes, MPs have suggested in a recommendation that won’t be music to the games industry’s ears. Loot boxes refer to virtual items in games that can be bought with real-world money and do not reveal their contents in advance. The MPs argue the mechanic should be considered games of chance played for money’s worth and regulated by the UK Gambling Act. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) parliamentary committee …