Internet companies in Germany may soon block sites like Pornhub or require a personal ID number for users to access adult content. Some adult games and websites are already being outlawed.
The authority responsible for media regulation in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany (Landesanstalt für Medien NRW), wants internet service providers (ISP) to block the most visited porn websites – such as Pornhub – or introduce age controls.
As reported by netzpolitik.org, the authority has already initiated corresponding proceedings with network operators Telekom, 1&1, Vodafone, and Telefónica to “protect young people.”
Three porn site operators have lost lawsuits in Germany against the Commission for Youth Media Protection, which banned websites due to “freely accessible pornographic content without ensuring that children and young people do not have access to it.” The websites were Pornhub, Youporn, and Mydirtyhobby.
Adult website visitors in Germany are supposed to present their IDs or have their faces biometrically scanned. However, according to German media, porn websites refused to subject users to such invasive controls. They’re now being criticized for not checking ages precisely enough. The authorities, therefore, turned to ISPs to enforce German laws on the protection of minors.
The hearing process has already begun. However, internet providers in Germany are also unhappy. According to golem.de, ISPs have so far refused to enforce network blocks.
Vodafone also confirmed to golem.de that it was asked by the authority to implement “a voluntary DNS block” against XHamster. The state media authority refused to comment.
The legal battle is already having an effect on German consumers, with the video game platform Steam removing numerous erotic or sex games in the country.
Offering pornographic content in Germany is still, in principle, possible as long as appropriate youth protection measures are adhered to. However, the process for verification is extremely rigorous.
“They must ensure that a proof-of-age check is carried out via personal identification and that only identified and age-verified people are granted access during the individual usage process,” the Commission for Youth Media Protection writes on its website.
According to the commission’s key points, two interconnected steps must be ensured. First, the initial identification ideally should be conducted in person to avoid circumvention or forgery. In subsequent sessions, a proper authentication process should also be performed to check that the same person is accessing the service each time.
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