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Website Security

Volume 451: debated on Monday 30 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the standard of age verification procedures on websites selling (a) alcohol and (b) DVDs, videos and computer games. (97503)

The Department has made no assessment of verification procedures for age restricted sales over the internet.

However, the Government's reform of the licensing regime has brought internet sales of alcohol in line with those in shops and pubs so that anyone who sells alcohol to someone under 18 is committing an offence, as is anyone under 18 who attempts to buy alcohol over the internet.

Trading Standards Officers have enforcement powers for illegal sales of alcohol and videos and games, and they have not expressed any concerns. Internet sales have to be made with a credit or debit card and increasingly, to prevent fraud, can only be delivered to the address at which the card is registered. Only over-18s have credit cards. It is true that younger people may have debit cards, but goods delivered to a home address will be monitored by parents.

It is in retailers' interests to ensure that they put proper checks in place to ensure that they are not selling age restricted products illegally. I have every confidence that the police or trading standards will clamp down on individuals or companies that do not put in place sufficient safeguards to prevent such sales.