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Division Details - Lords House of Lords

18:43, 20 March 2017, Division 3: Digital Economy Bill

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Report (2nd Day) (Continued)

Pre Vote

My Lords, I thank in particular the noble Earl, Lord Erroll, for his support on this amendment and acknowledge the work that he is doing in this field. The noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, said she echoed many of our concerns—and in Committee, Labour Peers added their names to the amendment. It proposes a code of practice, the content of which would be specified in the Bill, but it would provide flexibility, in that it sets out only the minimum requirements of such a code.

The Minister said that the Information Commissioner’s Office is responsible for data protection, but the Information Commissioner’s Office is designed to ensure that people who voluntarily put their personal information into the internet are protected—and this is not a voluntary process. This is making it compulsory for anybody who wants to access adult material to give their personal data, which they would not otherwise have to do. We therefore think that the protections should be greater than those provided by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

As the Minister himself said, privacy is more important when it comes to accessing pornography than it is when accessing, for example, gambling sites. We are not reassured. The draft guidance that the Government have issued is only guidance that a regulator should have regard to; it does not have teeth at all. We therefore find both the draft guidance and the explanation given by the Minister inadequate for protecting the identities of those who seek age verification. I therefore wish to test the opinion of the House.

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