Get ready for mandatory porn site age checks, Brits. You read that right

Plus: 10Mbps right, extra Ofcom powers as Commons sniffs bill

Cheesy pic of man holding face in shame as accusatory finger emerges from display. Photo via Shutterstock

Digital Economy Bill The UK government is to lay its digital bill before Parliament today, which, among other things, is intended to create a legal right for every household to access 10Mbps broadband.

Age verification will also be required for people browsing pornographic websites, supposedly for the protection of children from online porn.

The Digital Economy Bill was first announced in the Queen's Speech earlier this year. It has the lofty aim of "mak[ing] the United Kingdom a world leader in the digital economy" via legislation.

The Bill also contains contentious plans to allow government departments to better share citizens' information between themselves. However, those proposals have been criticised for being too hastily introduced – despite a lengthy consultation process around the initial proposals.

The plan is to hold data sets to improve service delivery "while maintaining safeguards on privacy."

The government's intention is for public authorities to be able to share information and combat public sector fraud.

Along with the legal right for Brits to demand fast broadband services, the Digital Economy Bill will also introduce simplified rules for building broadband infrastructure via a new Electronic Communications Code. It aims to cut the cost of building mobile and superfast broadband infrastructure.

Under the bill, Ofcom will be granted more powers to make communications providers release data on customer complaints and broadband speeds, as well as powers to require communications companies to coordinate switching between suppliers on behalf of customers. It will also create a new right for consumers to receive automatic compensation when things go wrong with their broadband connections.

One aspect of the bill likely to be welcomed by consumers is a further crackdown on email spammers and nuisance callers by ensuring consent is obtained for direct marketing. The Information Commissioner will be empowered to impose fines on those who break the rules.

The Digital Economy Bill is being presented to the House of Commons today. ®

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