Highlands and Islands Labor MSP calls for safeguards on adult online sites to keep children safe

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Highlands and Islands Labor MSP Rhoda Grant.

The Highlands and Rhoda Grant Islands Labor MSP is calling on the UK government to implement measures to prevent children from accessing pornographic websites.

Age verification for legal pornography sites was introduced in Part Three of the Digital Economy Act 2017 with the aim of protecting children from accessing harmful online content.

But British ministers revealed last month that they plan to drop the measures.

Ms Grant has now tabled a motion, supported by several SNP politicians, in the Scottish Parliament expressing concern over the UK government’s failure to implement Part Three of the law.

“How we keep our children safe online should be a top priority, so the failure to implement Part Three of the Digital Economy Act 2017 is a terrible reflection on the UK government,” a- she declared.

“Access to some of the most violent forms of illegal pornography normalizes violence against women and girls at a young age and will perpetuate the scandal of women in our society who experience abuse, violence and sexual assault.

“The long list of those calling for implementation should be a wake-up call that this legislation must be enacted and implemented immediately, and I wholeheartedly support this call to action.”

The motion was well received by the public policy charity CARE, which has worked closely with politicians in Westminster on the provisions of the Digital Economy Act.

Michael Veitch, parliamentary officer for the charity CARE, said: “We are very concerned about the potential impact here in Scotland of the failure of the UK government to implement Part Three of the Law on Digital Economy.

“Every day that these safeguards are not implemented, Scottish children continue to stumble upon commercial pornographic sites full of graphic and disturbing content.

“The implementation of Part Three would also see the establishment of a regulator to take strong action against sites disseminating extreme and violent pornography.

“With growing concerns about the ‘rape culture’ and tragic cases of sexual violence, like Sarah Everard’s, this type of regulation could not be more important.

“We are delighted that a number of PSMs, from different parties, have supported this motion and we urge the UK government to change course.”

MPs supporting the motion include Clare Adamson, Sarah Boyack, Siobhian Brown, Kenneth Gibson, Bill Kidd, Fulton MacGregor, John Mason, Paul McLennan, Stuart McMillan, Alex Rowley, Collette Stevenson and Paul Sweeney.

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