Playboy - the world's best-known porn brand - has been fined £100k ($160k) by Britain's communications regulator, after the publisher failed to prevent children from accessing smutty material on its websites.
Ofcom said that Playboy TV and Demand Adult had "allowed users to access hardcore videos and images without having acceptable controls in place to check that users were aged 18 or over".
The watchdog was able to slap Playboy with a financial penalty because those two websites provide access to videos in a similar way to adult services broadcast on television in Blighty, which meant the sites fell under UK jurisdiction.
Playboy was accused of repeated, serious and reckless behaviour by failing to protect children from accessing the sites. Ofcom explained:
There are a number of controls that websites can use to verify the age of users. This includes asking for credit card details before any adult content is made accessible. Credit cards, unlike debit cards, are not available to under 18s. Playboy TV and Demand Adult had breached UK rules by having no effective systems in place to protect under 18s from unsuitable free and paid-for content.
It found that Demand Adult required only a debit card for payment from users of that site wanting access to "paid for content", while hardcore porn could be viewed by anyone who simply clicked on a "Enter I am over 18" button.
Similarly on Playboy TV, users could access skin flicks by registering with a debit card, which kids as young as 11 can apply for.
Demand Adult's homepage was apparently found to be much more explicit than that of Playboy TV, however. For that reason, Demand Adult was slapped with a £65,000 fine, while Playboy TV was told to cough up a £35,000 penalty. ®
Sponsored: Webcast: Ransomware has gone nuclear