Net downloads in UK set for age verification systems

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London, May 22 : The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is launching age ratings for downloaded video content and video games.

Under the BBFC.online scheme, certificates will appear on websites, via set-top boxes and portable players.

Disney, Warners and Fox have already signed up to the voluntary scheme, and other key industry figures are expected to follow suit soon.

Peter Johnson, head of policy at the BBFC, revealed that over 1,000 videos would have online certificates by the end of this month.

He said that the scheme would also require online and video on demand services to have "age verification or gate-keeping systems in place for parents to monitor and control underage viewing".

"It's up to individual systems to work out how to introduce these technologies," the BBC quoted him as saying.

"But we will police it through test purchases," he added.

Johnson made it clear that the new scheme should not be misconstrued as an attempt to censor the Internet or to regulate online video gaming.

He further said that the BBFC expected all the "leading content providers and aggregators to sign up to the scheme in the coming weeks and months".

"We are talking to everybody who is likely to be a significant player in this industry," he said.

BBFC Director David Cooke said that they would work in collaboration with the game industry's self-regulatory body Pegi.

"We don't need to set up in rivalry with Pegi online. We can work cooperatively," he said.

He expressed hope that the voluntary scheme would obviate the need for any legislation to cover downloadable video content in the UK.

"I'm hoping there won't be any need for legislation to underpin this scheme," he said.

ANI

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