The British Board of Film Classification has signed an agreement with the U.K. government to act as the country’s new porn age-verification regulator.

Today, BBFC Director David Austin explained the organization’s new role regulating online adult entertainment to a committee in Parliament weighing the 2016 Digital Economy Bill.

The BBFC, which was founded in 1912, is an independent, private and not-for-profit company that classifies all U.K. films, video, video games, mobile content, advertisements and trailers.

Austin discussed how the BBFC will approach those sites that are found to be in contravention to U.K. law in regards to verifying that adult content can’t be accessed by under 18s.

The British Board of Film Classification is an independent, non-governmental body which has classified cinema films since it was set up in 1912 and videos/ DVDs since the Video Recordings Act was passed in 1984.

The BBFC’s heads of agreement deal to sign with the U.K. government was made last Thursday and made public today.

The organization, which is accountable to Parliament, now will help regulate online pornography in regards to age verification just as on-demand co-regulator ATVOD did for five years with Ofcom, Britain’s chief communications regulator, before it dissolved in January.

Austin said that the 2016 Digital Economy Bill now being weighed will “achieve a great deal” for the BBFC’s new role as the age-verification regulator. The piece of legislation, if given the OK, could impose financial penalties of up to $250,000 for noncomplying adult entertainment sites.

Austin said that the BBFC will methodically start focusing on the largest offending websites, including foreign ones, and notifying them for breaches in the U.K.’s mandatory age-verification laws.

BBFC – The British Board of Film Classification
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While it will be “extremely challenging to pursue foreign websites” not complying with U.K. law, Austin said that offending sites will face a notification process that may include the filing of sanctions against sites’ business partners, such as payment providers and others that supply ancillary services.

Austin also mentioned that sanctioned sites could find web properties blocked by IP address and de-indexed from search engines.

About BBFC

The British Board of Film Censors was set up in 1912 by the film industry as an independent body to bring a degree of uniformity to the classification of film nationally. Statutory powers on film remain with the local councils, which may overrule any of the BBFC’s decisions, passing films we reject, banning films we have passed, and even waiving cuts, instituting new ones, or altering categories for films exhibited under their own licensing jurisdiction.

The British Board of Film Classification is an independent, non-governmental body which has classified cinema films since it was set up in 1912 and videos/ DVDs since the Video Recordings Act was passed in 1984.