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French Parliament Agrees to Age Verification Requirement

French Parliament Agrees to Age Verification Requirement

French Parliament Agrees to Age Verification Requirement

Sunday, July 12, 2020

PARIS — The French Parliament unanimously agreed yesterday to introduce an Age Verification (AV) requirement aimed at preventing minors from accessing pornographic websites.

France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, had made a commitment months ago to implement such a system.

According to news site Politico, “Macron made the protection of children against adult content online a high-profile issue well before the coronavirus crisis hit. In January, tech companies, internet service providers and the adult movie industry signed a voluntary charter, pledging to roll out tools to help ensure minors don’t have access to pornographic content.”

Back in January, France’s Le Figaro newspaper reported that the group signing the charter included ISP organization Fédération Française des Télécoms, Snapchat, Google, search engine Qwant, Samsung and even the Marc Dorcel studio.

The new French law, according to Politico, “gives sites discretion to decide how to perform age verification.”

“Requiring users to enter a credit card number seems to be one of the most popular options,” the news site reported.

The age verification requirement is part of an amendment attached in June to a law on domestic violence.

“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,” Politico reported, adding that “sanctions could go as far as blocking access to the websites in France with a court order.”

A similar A.V. scheme proposed for the U.K. fell apart in October 2019 over concerns about its implementation.

“With this new law,” Politico added, “if the site does not comply within 15 days after a first warning from the audiovisual regulator CSA, the regulator will be able to ask the Paris Court of Justice to send an order to telecom operators to block the access to these sites from France.”