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France moves to block access to pornography sites for minors


French Junior Minister for Digital Transition and Telecommunications Jean-Noel Barrot arrives to attend the second plenary session of the Conseil National de la Refondation (CNR – National Council for Refoundation) at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, December 12, 2022. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

France will present this week a digital-certification mechanism to oblige pornography websites to effectively control the age of viewers on their sites from September, French digital minister Jean-Noel Barrot said on Monday.

People who want to visit these websites will have to install an application for government-licensed digital certification on their mobile phones to prove that they are at least 18 years old. Sites which do not comply will risk being banned from publishing in France.

“I intend to put an end to this scandal … In 2023, it is the end of access to pornography websites for our children,” Barrot said in an interview with French daily Le Parisien.

France will become the first country in the world to take such measures, according to Barrot.

Under current legislation in France and most European countries, users have to 18 to be able to access pornography. But there is no effective control mechanism and users can simply enter a fictional birth date on their screens.

According to a 2018 OpinionWay poll published on the French government’s “I protect my child against pornography” site, nearly one in three children have been exposed to pornography by the age of 12 and 62% by the age of 15.