Three of the biggest porn sites must verify ages to protect kids

da | Feb 11, 2024 | Finance, Taxes | 0 commenti

Three of the world’s biggest porn websites will have to comply with tougher restrictions as part of an EU clampdown aimed at protecting minors.

Pornhub, XVideos and Stripchat are now classed as ‘very large online platforms’ and are subject to more stringent controls under the Digital Services Act, according to the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch. 

EU regulators determined the adult sites fell within the scope of a landmark law designed to police online content because, like Facebook, TikTok and Wikipedia, they have more than 45 million users each. 

The three sites are the first to be targeted by the sweeping Digital Services Act, which imposes tough obligations to keep users safe from illegal content and dodgy products.

They will have to comply with several stricter measures, including having to apply systems that can verify the age of users.

Three of the world’s biggest porn websites, including Pornhub, have been hit with new rules as part of a EU clampdown aimed at protecting minors (file image)

XVideos is also impacted by the clampdown because it is classed as a ‘very large online platform’ as it has 45 million users

Pornhub, which is based in Canada, said it had only 33mn users in the EU, thus falling short of the DSA’s threshold, the Financial Times reports. 

Violations are punishable by fines of up to 6 per cent of global revenue or even a ban on operating in the EU. 

Some 19 online platforms and search engines have already been identified for stricter scrutiny under the DSA, including TikTok, Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, Google and more.

The law includes provisions to protect children by preventing them ‘from accessing pornographic content online, including with age verification tools,’ the commission said in a press release.

France, Germany and Britain and U.S. states including Utah and Texas have drafted laws requiring porn sites to verify a user is 18 or older. 

Methods could include checking credit cards or government-issued ID or scanning faces to estimate ages, but all those systems have raised concerns about privacy and discrimination.

France, Germany and Britain and U.S. states including Utah and Texas have drafted laws requiring porn sites to verify a user is 18 or older (file image)

Europe’s digital law also calls for measures to curb the risk of spreading illegal content online, such as child sexual abuse material, or content that breaches ‘fundamental rights’ like privacy, such as ‘non-consensual’ images or deepfake porn site.

‘These measures can include adapting their terms and conditions, interfaces, moderation processes or algorithms, among others,’ the commission said.

The DSA kicked in for the biggest online platforms in August. The requirements also include carrying out risk assessments, giving researchers access to publicly available data and filing regular transparency reports.

Europe’s digital law also calls for measures to curb the risk of spreading illegal content online. Pictured: European Union flags wave in the wind as pedestrians walk by EU headquarters in Brussels 

The EU has used the law to crack down on Elon Musk’s social media platform X, previously known as Twitter, by opening an investigation on Monday into whether it failed to do enough to stop the spread of illegal content such as hate speech or incitement of terrorism.

Margrethe Vestager, executive vice-president for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age, wrote: I welcome the designations of Pornhub, XVideos and Stripchat as Very Large Online Platforms. 

‘It will allow for higher scrutiny and accountability of their algorithms and processes. 

‘The DSA demonstrates once again that it is an essential tool to ensure that technology respects the fundamental rights of European citizens.

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