Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner and some editorial assistants
The fine gained attention as Ofcom traditionally regulates television rather than the internet, but with the growth of on-demand services through web sites, Ofcom felt the need to intervene.
According to a report by The Times newspaper in London, two of Playboy’s websites ‘repeatedly and recklessly’ allowed users to access hardcore videos and images without any measures being taking to confirm they are 18 or over.
Ofcom, along with co-regulator the Authority for Television on Demand (Atvod), are targeting British companies offering pornographic material on the internet and lack the necessary access controls.
However, some companies are simply shifting their web site management overseas, such as Strictly Broadband, which moved to the US after being fined £60,000 last month for lacking age verification controls.
Ofcom said it swooped on Playboy’s web sites because ‘they are deemed to be TV-like services [which] provide access to video in a similar way to services broadcast on television’.