Tech

Age verification: Media guardians go against big porn sites


The State Media Authority in North Rhine-Westphalia wants to take action against popular foreign providers of online pornography in Germany. As the mirror reports, the media guard suspect a violation of the State Treaty on Youth Protection, because the vendors do not pass the age verification. Who enters the web address, is immediately confronted with hard pornography.

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  1. Deutsche Bundesbank, Munich
  2. AVL List GmbH, Graz (Austria)



According to the web ranking service Alexa, several of these providers are among the 20 most frequently accessed pages in this country. However, the enforcement of German law is likely to be difficult because at least two of the companies are based in Cyprus.

Tobias Schmid, Director of the State Media Authority of North Rhine-Westphalia, does not want to be deterred by this and make an example. "The danger for the protection of minors does not diminish, just because she comes from abroad", he said. Schmid has already contacted the media wardens in Cyprus. In mid-November, several European regulators in Brussels want to work for a revision of the e-commerce directive. It should make it easier for media outlets to prosecute infringements by foreign providers.

According to the adult industry magazine Xbiz, Mindgeek is the largest online porn group in the world, which also includes an ad network and large professional porn studios. The Luxembourg company has offices in Cyprus, Canada, USA, UK and Romania. Mindgeek runs huge tube sites and other porn sites, including Pornhub, Redtube and Youporn, as well as film production companies such as Brazzers, Digital Playground, Men.com, WhyNotBi.com, Reality Kings and Sean Cody.

It also supports age reviews with tools such as AgeID to comply with the 2017 Digital Economy Act in the UK. Mindgeek is a member of the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection and uses the Restricted To Adults label to identify its pornographic websites.

Also DNS locks are not excluded

Nele Nieuwenhuis, Communications Officer of the North Rhine-Westphalia Media Authority (NRW) did not exclude the controversial blocking of pornographic sites on Golem.de's request. "DNS blocking of entire pages is always just Ultima Ratio, so we are primarily seeking to customize access to these pages – pornography is not completely prohibited, so it may be offered in a closed group of users, but it must be secured through secure age verification be that only adults have access to the content "Nieuwenhuis said.

Suppliers from Germany should already comply with these regulations. The same should apply to providers from abroad, especially since European law also wants to protect children and adolescents from pornographic content.

But the authority is based on cooperation by the providers. "Experience so far shows that providers are certainly interested in finding an amicable solution and are willing to adhere to the rules of the markets in which they operate"Nieuwenhuis explained.