Commercial porn websites face big fines if they allow British children unfettered access to their content.
The companies must introduce age verification and will have a legal obligation to ensure that those accessing their material are over 18 years old.
The government said the proposals put the responsibility “squarely on the shoulders of companies who create and profit from online pornography”.
It also wants a new “regulatory framework to monitor and enforce compliance, with the ability to impose civil sanctions where breaches are identified”.
The regulator will set verification controls and will lean on payment providers and others to withdraw services from porn firms that break the law.
Public consultations begin today but this looks like a done deal. We guess the age verification will involve credit cards or phone numbers. Also the UK’s ISPs will have to get involved in this somehow: otherwise children – and adults – will flock to the millions of free porn sites hosted overseas.
Internet Safety and Security Minister Baroness Shields said: “Just as we do offline, we want to make sure children are prevented from accessing pornographic content online which should only be viewed by adults.
“So we are delivering on our manifesto promise by launching this consultation today, which proposes we require companies providing this pornographic content to ensure they have safeguards in place to ensure those accessing their websites are over 18.”
The public consultation runs until midday, 12 April 2016. ®