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French lower house unanimously votes for age verification porn sites

This photo taken on November 8, 2019 shows a worker checking for illegal content at an office of the Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC) in Seoul tasked with hunting down and removing internet sex videos posted without consent. - The digital sex crime monitoring team was set up this autumn by South Korea's broadcast regulator, the Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC), and operates 24 hours a day. The 16-member taskforce is on the front line of South Korea's battle against the spread of so-called "molka", or spycam videos, largely shot by men secretly filming women in schools, toilets and elsewhere. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) / TO GO WITH SKorea-women-rights-crime-internet-pornography, FOCUS by Kang Jin-kyu (Photo by ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)

The French lower house approved a bill on Thursday requiring porn sites to verify a visitor’s age. The sites are free to determine how they do this. A government proposal is to use credit card information.

According to the proposal, the French telecom authority CSA will be given the power to inspect companies and to impose sanctions if they do not comply with the law. One of the options therein is site blocking at the national level. The law is just not final yet: the upper house has yet to vote on it, but Politico writes that the strong expectation is that the bill will get through without problems.

While restricting adult access to pornography is not really a topic of concern, it is not how to achieve it. While the proposal to use credit card information would achieve that goal, it has two drawbacks: not everyone has a credit card, and handing over this sensitive data is not without risk. If a site has inadequate security, not only is the fact that a person visits the site on the street, but it may also be their credit card data.

The UK has also struggled with age affirmation on porn sites for years. Those plans met with resistance from, among others, privacy experts and the technical implementation proved difficult. Partly because of this, the introduction was postponed several times, until the ship finally stranded in October last year. In Australia, people are still working on the idea.

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