The French Parliament this week approved legislation requiring age verification protocols for pornography websites, a system approved and then abandoned by the UK following technical setbacks and privacy concerns.
Age verification in France was approved unanimously this week after being introduced last month as an amendment to a law on domestic violence, Politico said on Thursday. The point of sale indicated that the verification methods would be the responsibility of the private companies themselves, but added that any action against the non-compliant platforms could involve the prohibition of access to their sites in France. According to Politico, the bill still requires a final vote in the Senate, but should be passed.
The bill aims to prohibit access to pornographic images to children and adolescents under the age of 18, although the systems for doing so are controversial and flawed. Politico indicated that one method of age verification studied by legislators was the verification of credit cards.
But the outlet noted that the same controversial system for verifying a person’s identity to access adult websites was also intended to be applied in the UK last year before the verification system of age is repeatedly delayed and ultimately discarded.
As with the bill in France, the verification systems in the United Kingdom – which you can find out more about here – would have been applied by private companies themselves, access to their pornographic sites being prohibited in the event of non -respect of these identification protocols. . The methods of identification could have involved SMS, credit cards, passports or identity documents, facial recognition and even blockchain. Plans have been killed for the UK system due to technical and privacy concerns.
Critics like Jim Killock, executive director of Open Rights Group, argued last year that a lack of privacy standards for age verification systems was “dangerous and irresponsible.”
“It is unfair to have a good age verification system and other bad ones – a fraudster’s paradise – on the government’s own initiative,” said Killock at the time. “Data leaks could be disastrous. And it will be the government’s fault.