Protecting minors against pornography seems to be complex


Western Europe


Photo Unsplash, Jay Wennington

The French government wants to protect minors against pornographic images. However, this seems to be a complex issue. Possible solutions are wiped off the table because they violate the privacy of internet users too much.

The French government has been working on a regulation to prevent minors from being confronted with pornographic images for months. However, nothing has changed so far, and the age at which children see pornography for the first time even continues to drop. That is reported by La Croix.

To find out whether an internet user is a minor or an adult, websites have to collect data. They could, for example, use credit card information to identify minors. The idea came from Secretary of State for Children Charlotte Caubel. She argued that entering a payment system would create a way of alerting parents when their children make a financial transaction to a pornographic website. “I receive an alert when my child uses his credit card. And then I can see if it goes to YouPorn, for example”, she said to the National Assembly.

Personal data

However, this way of data collection would be incompatible with the French guidelines regarding protecting personal data, as pornographic websites would be able to access data about people who click on their websites.

Instead, the solution should be sought in the area of a “trusted third party”, the French commission of information and freedom (Cnil) and the Center of Expertise for Digital Regulation argue. A third party should then validate the age of a user. An individual should check this third party, Cnil proposed.

Yet, the question remains whether protecting minors against pornography is the responsibility of the state or of private parties. Nathalie Janson, economist and specialist in cryptocurrency, points out that the banking sector already has some regulations in place to identify minors online. Nevertheless, she pleads for national guidelines. “The State must establish precise specifications and heavily sanction any breaches.”



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