End of Anonymous Online Pornography Viewing in the European Union

End of Anonymous Online Pornography Viewing in the European Union

Current Lax Age Verification on Pornographic Websites

Currently, the only barrier preventing minors from accessing most pornographic websites is a simple question: “Are you over 18 years old? Click Yes or No.” In other words, there’s no real barrier at all. However, this is set to change with the European Union’s Digital Services Act, which will put an end to anonymous online access to pornography. Websites such as Pornhub, Xvideos, and Stripchat will be required to verify the age of their users.

Easy Access to Adult Content for Minors

Numerous studies have proven that many minors begin their exposure to pornography on the internet, years before they reach the legal age. The primary reason for this is the ease of access to adult content, where all it takes is a simple ‘Yes’ click or the creation of a free account with any email address, with no further verification steps.

European Union’s Plan to Protect Minors

The European Union is planning to protect minors by obligating the three most used pornographic platforms in Europe—Pornhub, Xvideos, and Stripchat—to verify their users’ ages.

Goodbye to Anonymous Porn on the Internet

The verification process will require users to identify themselves with a photo ID, a selfie, or another method that involves disclosing their identity. The EU has not yet clarified how this will work. The measure is not yet official, but sources suggest it will come into effect next April.

Legal Framework by the Digital Services Act

The new Digital Services Act will provide the legal framework for this move. The European Union intends to treat these pornographic platforms akin to Facebook or other large platforms, not because of their content, but because they exceed 45 million users in the EU.

Age Verification for Online Services with Extensive User Numbers

The new law stipulates that online services with more than 45 million users must verify the ages of their customers. It’s estimated that Xvideos has over 160 million users globally, as reported by Ars Technica, but their European user numbers are unknown. Pornhub has revealed that it has 33 million users in Europe and has requested the EU not to apply the measure since they do not meet the 45 million mark.

Potential Universal Rule for Pornographic Platforms

However, the European Union’s intention is to make this a general rule for all pornographic platforms, regardless of their usage. “I have made it very clear that creating a safer online environment for our children is a priority of the Digital Services Act,” stated Thierry Breton, the EU Commissioner responsible for enforcing the law.

Impact of Mandatory Age Verification on User Numbers

It remains to be seen whether the obligation for Pornhub, Xvideos, and Stripchat to verify the age of their users will lead to a decrease in the number of users on these adult platforms.

Discover more about Juan Antonio Pascual Estapé, the author of this article, and learn how we work at Computerhoy
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