French Senators Propose to Treat Adult Content ‘Like Terrorism or CSAM’

PARIS — New details about the French media regulator plan to block all the major free adult sites in the country over a controversial age verification law surfaced today during a round table held in the French Senate.

One senator even proposed treating consensual, legal adult content “like terrorism or pedophilia.”

Representatives of ARCOM — a recently-formed agency that superseded former regulatory agency CSA, an analog of the American FCC — explained that due of a procedural error by their lawyers, the hearing scheduled for May 24 to decide whether to block PornHub, xHamster, XNXX, Tufik and XVideos had to be postponed until September 6.

It was also revealed that politicians had also “considered the curious idea of replacing the homepage of ‘porn sites’ with a black screen to verify ages,” Marc Rees, of French tech news site Next INpact, reported today. Rees is the main journalist tracking ongoing threats by the Macron government to censor many of the most popular adult tube sites.

Several French senators proposed a number of theoretical ideas to verify age in absolute ignorance of long-standing debates about age verification and content moderation, with the ARCOM regulators having to patiently explain why they were impractical and/or illegal.

The Aftermath of a Controversial Law

As XBIZ reported, France’s age-verification mandate was surreptitiously added to a hastily approved domestic violence law during an atypical and sparsely attended COVID-era session of the French Parliament in July 2020.

The law specifies that adult companies should be required to institute measures beyond simply asking an internet user whether they are of age. It also empowers a government official — the president of ARCOM — to demand that the president of the judicial court order the ISP providers to immediately block infringing sites in the entire country.

According to Rees, Pornhub is in the process of filing a challenge to the controversial law’s constitutionality, based on the legislators’ vagueness while drafting it violating the legal principle of “freedom of expression and communication”.

ARCAM’s General Director Guillaume Blanchot also explained that his regulatory agency was also now bound by external “procedural constraints” due to France’s membership in the EU.

“Because of the application of the ‘country of origin’ principle, which is enshrined in the e-commerce directive,” Blanchot noted, “we must not only inform the Member State where most of the sites are established of the procedure we are undertaking, and ask them whether they intends to take action against them itself, but also at the same time we must inform the European Commission.”

This is therefore “a procedure that requires a number of information guarantees and procedures, which make it longer than we could wish,” he added.

Senator: Treat Porn Like ‘Terrorism’ and ‘Pedophilia’

According to Rees’ reporting, during the senate round table, Vice-President of the Senate Laurence Rossignol floated the idea of “treating pornographic sites as pedophile sites or sites that glorify terrorism” in order to implement “an administrative blockage, without the intervention of the judge.”

Blanchot then had to clarify to the senator that while terrorism and pedophilia are illegal in all cases, pornography is most certainly not for adults.

The confessedly tech-ignorant senators also suggested a vague scheme of “replacing the home pages of XXX sites with a black screen, until the Internet user presents a bank card to pay for this access.”

The ARCOM representative pointed out that “it is not possible to force porn sites to set up paid default access,” or for the state to mandate that their business model be exclusively paywalled paysites.


Article Source : xbiz.com – XBIZ is the leading source for adult industry news.

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