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Age Verification in France


Macron gives websites 6 months to introduce age verification


 

Dangerous technology...

Dorcel porn website tests identity verification system for porn viewers


Link Here20th June 2023
Full story: Age Verification in France...Macron gives websites 6 months to introduce age verification
The notable French adult company Dorcel is currently testing a double anonymity age verification solution designed by a French tech company. The Dorcel Group is testing an AV solution by GreenBadg. The report states that 10,000 visitors to Dorcel's site will be targeted as guinea pigs during the test period.

GreenBadg founder Jacky Lamraoui said that his company built its solution in consultation with French authorities, including media regulator ARCOM.

To access Dorcel sites, users must first register on GreenBadg by providing identification and a video selfie. Another company, IDNow will verify the ID, from which the date of birth is extracted, and confirm that the ID photo corresponds to the video selfie. The video selfie/ID photo facial comparison is performed by artificial intelligence, with a second validation done by a human.

Once verified, the user will receive a badge valid for three years, allowing them to scan a QR Code on the relevant site to certify they are over 18.

 

 

Accelerated censorship...

Macron introduces a bill to side step the courts so as to block porn websites more quickly


Link Here 9th May 2023
Full story: Age Verification in France...Macron gives websites 6 months to introduce age verification
Exasperated by slow legal progress in porn censorship, Emmanuel Macron's government has confirmed that it will attempt to bypass the courts to force the porn websites comply with a controversial, vaguely worded 2020 age verification law.

Macron's government is clearly frustrated with the legal challenge mounted by lawyers for Pornhub, Tukif, xHamster, XVideos and Xnxx. The lawyers presented requests to nullify the proceedings and order a stay of the proposed block. The tribunal then gave itself until July 7 to make a decision.

The French Minister Delegate for Digital Jean-NoŰl Barrot announced the government's intention to empower ARCOM to order, without needing to go through the courts, the blocking and delisting of adult sites that do not prevent minors from accessing their content.

Le Monde reports that the extra-judicial gambit will be part of a new bill intended to secure and regulate the digital space. Barrot intends to present the bill to the Council of Ministers on Wednesday, and expects it to be examined in the Senate over the summer and by the National Assembly by the start of the school year.

The bill will also empower government regulator ARCOM to stop the dissemination on the internet of media banned in the European Union.

 

 

Something to do whilst waiting for itself to approve an official age verification mechanism...

French internet censor makes next move to block porn websites including Pornhub


Link Here12th April 2023
Full story: Age Verification in France...Macron gives websites 6 months to introduce age verification
Arcom is the French internet censor who is tasked with the censorship of porn websites. It has published a press release explaining its latest steps to block a group of prominent porn websites:

In accordance with article 23 of the law of July 30, 2020, Arcom gave formal notice on April 6, 2023 to Technius Ltd (eg XHamster.com) and Techpump Solutions SL (eg Porn300.com) to prevent access by minors to respectively one and two pornographic sites that they publish.

In addition, due to the failure of MG Freesites (eg pornhub.com) to comply with the formal notices issued on April 7, 2022, the president of the Paris court was petitioned to order the main ISPs to prevent access to two sites published by this company.

Protecting young audiences from inappropriate content in the digital sphere is a priority for Arcom, within the framework set by the legislator.

 

 

Has anyone dared to ask the kids how they will respond to a social media ban?...

French lawmakers rush to get age verification mandated to block under 15s from accessing social media without parental permission


Link Here23rd February 2023
Full story: Age Verification in France...Macron gives websites 6 months to introduce age verification
The Culture Committee of France's National Assembly voted last week to expand the age verification requirements already mandated for adult content to several popular mainstream social media platforms.

The French lawmakers voted in favour of requiring social media platforms to block access to under 15s, unless they have permission from their parents.

The reasons given by the committee for last week's hearing were to examine a proposed law establishing a "digital age of majority" of 15 and to "fight online hate."

The bill was put forward by MP Laurent Marcangeli, a member of parliament from President Emmanuel Macron's allied party Horizons, and was endorsed by the committee on Feb. 15.

Infringing social media companies, the Politico report noted, will face fines of up to one percent of their annual global turnover. Technical solutions to verify users' ages would need to be rubber-stamped by the audiovisual and privacy regulators -- Arcom and CNIL -- and Arcom would be empowered to sue non-compliant companies.

The bill now heads to a plenary session and to the Senate.

According to a French government source, CNIL and Arcom will soon be releasing age verification technical guidelines that will "frame the minimum criteria" for "pornographic websites" to comply. It appears that France will allow payment card verification and face scanning for age (with an unlikely promise of not surreptitiously using facial recognition at the same time) in the short term whilst waiting for a more complex technical solution being suggested by CNIL.

French Digital Minister Jean-NoŰl Barrot told the parliamentarians that a system of "double anonymity" for porn site age verification would be tested at the end of March with a few adult companies, which he did not name.

 

 

State control...

French minister speaks of a state age verification system being in place by September 2023


Link Here8th February 2023
Full story: Age Verification in France...Macron gives websites 6 months to introduce age verification
France's minister for digital affairs has announced that a government-issued digital certificate certifying a person's age will be necessary to view any adult content online in that country starting in September.

Minister for Digital Affairs Jean-NoŰl Barrot told newspaper Le Parisien that the new digital certificate will be unveiled this week, with full implementation planned for September.

Barrot warned all adult websites to comply:

under penalty of seeing the broadcasting prohibited on the national territory. France will be the first country in the world to propose a solution like this.

This technical solution that we are working on could be used to enforce the age limits that exist in our law, but which are not sufficiently respected online

However Barrot admitted that the specifics have not been finalized.

Critics have noted that implementation of the digital certificate could face complications relating to the issue of personal data protection .

 

 

Legal age restrictions...

Porn sites in France suffer setbacks after losing court cases


Link Here 15th January 2023
Full story: Age Verification in France...Macron gives websites 6 months to introduce age verification
Notable porn websites operating in France have suffered two legal defeats.

In the first case, a priority question of constitutionality (QPC) had been addressed to the Court of Cassation. MindGeek, which publishes Pornhub, argued that ISP blocking of their websites, as ordered by France's internet censors of the Audiovisual and Digital Communication Regulatory Authority (Arcom), was an affront to freedom of speech in France.

In its verdict of January 5, the Court of Cassation swept aside this QPC:

The question posed is not of a serious nature. Considering that the legal framework in question is sufficiently clear and precise to exclude any risk of arbitrariness . Nor is there any disproportionate harm to the objectives pursued.

The attack on freedom of expression, by imposing the use of a device for verifying the age of the person accessing pornographic content, other than a simple declaration of majority, is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the objective of protecting minors.

Meanwhile YouPorn and RedTube lost an administrative challenge to the rather circuitous way that French authorities have specified the laws requiring age/identity verification to view porn websites.

 

 

The Children Online Protection Laboratory...

France announces a global initiative on child protection that includes identity/age verification for all


Link Here 13th November 2022
Full story: Age Verification in France...Macron gives websites 6 months to introduce age verification
The French government has announced a global initiative for online child safety.

The purpose of the Children Online Protection Laboratory is to incentivize researchers, campaigners, and tech giants to come up with measures to best protect children online.

Tech giants Google , Amazon, Meta, and TikTok , as well as Dailymotion said they will sign a charter.

In the first year, the participants of the Child Protection Laboratory will focus on developing systems for detecting sexual predators posing as minors and a shared database to detect and remove explicit images shared non-consensually. However, the other aspects of the proposal include looking into online age verification, a move that could restrict online privacy for all users.

In the past few years, Macron's government has pushed for reforms in online child safety. However, some of the efforts have not been successful. For instance, the legislation requiring adult websites to verify age has not been enforced, yet it was passed over two years ago. The highest court in the country, the Cour de Cassation has until January to rule on whether the Constitutional Council should review if the age verification rules violate the Constitution and if they are a major threat to privacy in the country.

 

 

Not yet the last resort...

French court rejects request to force ISP blocking of major porn websites


Link Here 25th May 2022
Full story: Age Verification in France...Macron gives websites 6 months to introduce age verification
A Paris appeals court has rejected requests to block the most popular adult tube sites in the country.

Following months of statements and threats pressuring tube sites to implement undefined age verification schemes, French media censor ARCOM went to court in March and April to demand that French ISPs block Pornhub, xHamster, xVideos, Cliphunter and Xnxx.

Meanwhile 2 morality campaign groups are also pushing for ISP blocking via the courts, and their blocking requests add YouPorn, RedTube and Tukif to the list.

ARCOM had  sent formal notices to tube site operators demanding they find a more robust solution than the simple declaration of age. The porn sites did not comply, seemingly because ARCOM had not defined what age verification methods would be acceptable.

French reports now reveal that the Council of State, an appeals court, issued a ruling rejecting the ARCOM blocking requests. The reasons for the rejection are not wholly clear so far but the most plausible is that recourse to blocking should be the last resort rather than the first call. It seems that ARCOM should be doing more work to define what age verification measures the porn websites should be taking.

 

 

Using censorship heavy artillery without caring about the collateral damage...

French censors bang the table demanding age verification but there are no data protection laws in place that protect porn users from being tracked and scammed


Link Here9th March 2022
Full story: Age Verification in France...Macron gives websites 6 months to introduce age verification
Pornhub, Pornhub, XHamster, XNXX and XVideos do not comply with French rules contrived from a law against domestic violence.

The French internet censor Arcom (previously CSA) took legal action on March 8 and requested the blocking of 5 pornographic sites: Pornhub, Pornhub, XHamster, Xnxx and Xvideos. The censor sent an injunction to the platforms and left 15 days to comply with the law. The websites did not comply.

Since the vote on the law against domestic violence in 2020, an amendment specifies that sites can no longer be satisfied with asking Internet users to declare that they are of legal age by clicking on a simple box.

Depending on the judge's decision, ISPs will be forced or not to block access to the incriminated sites. In case of blocking, visitors to the pornographic site will be redirected to a dedicated Arcom page.

Distributors of pornographic content are therefore required, in theory, to check the age of their visitors. But how? There is currently no legally defined method to achieve this. The censor itself has never given guidelines to the platforms.

In fact data protection authorities have rather put a spanner in the works that has left the industry scratching its head. In an opinion issued on June 3, 2021, the National Commission for Computing and Freedoms (Cnil) decreed that a verification system which collects information on the identity of Internet users would, in this context, be illegal and risky. Such data collection would indeed present significant risks for the persons concerned since their sexual orientation -- real or supposed -- could be deduced from the content viewed and directly linked to their identity.

Faced with these legal contradictions, Senator Marie Mercier, rapporteur for the amendment, has simply banged the table harder:

I don't want to know how they are doing, but they have to find a solution . The law is the law.

Porn tube websites have explained their reluctance to implement. The option to use third-party verifiers may prove very expensive for a business model based on a high number of users making up for low advertising income per users. An estimate denied by the Tukif site, says that the cost of a verification service goes from 0.0522c to 0.222c per user, a cost to be multiplied by their 650,0000 unique daily visitors.

It is presumed that many porn users will be very reluctant to hand over dangerous ID proof to porn websites so blocking the entry of some audiences, while discouraging others will lead to collapsing income.

The websites also note that as the regulator hasn't attempted to block all porn tube sites then users will be more likely to swap to unrestricted websites rather than submit to ID verification on those website mandated to do so.

 

 

Liberte prevails...

France court decides not to order that ISPs block 9 major porn websites


Link Here9th October 2021
Full story: Age Verification in France...Macron gives websites 6 months to introduce age verification
A French court on Friday, has rejected a claim brought by two children's campaigns calling for the blocking of major porn websites in France.

The judge rejected the claim because the court facing time pressures had not been able to hear arguments from the sites' publishers.

The anti-porn campaigners had hoped for the blocking of nine top porn sites, including PornHub and Xvideos.

One of the ISPs being asked to censor the porn, Orange, noted that it already offered tools such as parental controls to limit children's access to online pornography.

Samuel Comblez of e-Enfance, one of the children's campaigners, said: It's not a completely lost battle, adding that it was now examining other ways to restrict access to the sites.

 

 

e-infancy...

Children's campaigners take legal action to force French ISPs to block major porn sites


Link Here4th September 2021
Full story: Age Verification in France...Macron gives websites 6 months to introduce age verification
Two French campaign groups are suing the main ISPs in France, demanding the total block of several adult sites that they consider too accessible to minors.

The groups suing top French ISPs SFR, Orange, Bouygues TÚlÚcom, Free, Colt Technologies Services and Outre mer TÚlÚcomare are called e-Enfance (e-Infancy) and La Voix de l'Enfant (The Voice of the Child).

The ISPs were asked to appear next Thursday, September 9 in front of the Paris Judicial Court.

The lawsuit is proof that the French anti-porn groups intend to restrict access to adult content in that European market. Earlier this year, supporters of France's controversial age-verification law had claimed that they knew it was impractical and considered the passage of the measure as "symbolic."

ISP Orange told Le Figaro that they will "abide by the decision of the court and would shut down these sites speedily if that's what we are asked to do. But in the absence of a judicial decision, we apply the rules of net neutrality and freedom of expression"

 

 

Age old censorship...

France passes intern porn censorship laws similar to those that failed in the UK


Link Here10th July 2020
Full story: Age Verification in France...Macron gives websites 6 months to introduce age verification
The French parliament has agreed a new law requiring age verification on pornographic websites to prevent access by children under 18. The censorship law has the support of President Emmanuel Macron, who called for such a measure in January.

The French law gives sites discretion to decide how to perform that age verification.

The law gives French regulators the power to create a blacklist for overseas sites that don't comply with the new rules. If a site doesn't respond to a warning from French officials, they can ask the Paris Court of Justice to send an order to telecom operators to block the access to these sites from France.

A major sticking point in the UK's failed age verification law was privacy. Critics pointed out that it wasn't a great idea to force adult consumers to turn over their credit card numbers to porn sites that might not have the strongest privacy protections. It's not clear what privacy protections will be offered to consumers under the French law.

In order to enforce the law, the French audiovisual regulator CSA will be granted new powers to audit and sanction companies that do not comply -- sanctions could go as far as blocking access to the websites in France with a court order.

The Senate has already voted on the bill. Following an agreement between senators and lawmakers from the lower house National Assembly, a final vote will be held again in the Senate where the bill is expected to pass.

 

 

Age old censorship...

A detailed look at France's proposals requiring age verification to access porn


Link Here15th June 2020
Full story: Age Verification in France...Macron gives websites 6 months to introduce age verification

 

 

 

Work longer, pay more fuel tax, get maimed by rubber bullets, and now have your porn blocked...

More reforms from Macron as he gives porn websites 6 months to introduce parental control or else legislation will follow


Link Here2nd January 2020
Full story: Age Verification in France...Macron gives websites 6 months to introduce age verification
French President Emmanuel Macron has said that he will legislate if necessary to get parental controls in place to block kids from porn. He said in a speech to UNESCO:

We do not take a 13-year-old boy to a sex-shop, not anything goes in the digital world.

We will clarify in the penal code that the simple fact of declaring one's age online is not a strong enough protection against access to pornography by minors.

The measure will give the websites a period of six months to set up parental control by default . I know it hurts a lot of platforms, a lot of digital operators, but if in six months we have no solution, we will pass a law for automatic parental control.

Macron's reference to age 13 is not casual, because that is reportedly the average age of access to erotic content for the first time in France.


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