This Tuesday, September 6, the lawyers of the French Public Authority for the Regulation of Audiovisual and Digital Communication (Arcom) and those of the five main pornographic sites (Pornhub, Xnxx, Tukif, Xvideos and Xhamster) in France, ended up in court.
At the beginning of 2022, Arcom has asked the judge to block of several online porn giants. The audiovisual policeman believes that the sites targeted by the complaint do not offer effective means to prevent minors from accessing pornographic content. This new hearing took place because Arcom, a new authority born from the merger of CSA and Hadopi, made a procedural error. Indeed, the copies of the subpoenas had not been sent to the court in time. Arcom therefore had to repeat the same procedure.
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Pornhub’s lawyers took the opportunity to save time by submitting a ” priority question of constitutionality (QPC). It will now be necessary to wait until October 4 to find out if the court decides to send this QPC to the Court of Cassation. If that is the case, this would suspend the action of the Arcom. The parties involved will still meet on Thursday, September 8 around a mediator. While the Arcom asks for their suspension, the justice offers mediation to settle the dispute. The choice of the economist Bruno Deffains as mediator has already been put forward.
Porn sites don’t have a magic bullet
After giving adult sites time to comply, the audiovisual policeman decided to crack down by asking for their blocking. The decision to unplug or not, porn sites, should not be known before the end of the year. During the September 6 hearing, the lawyers for the pornographic sites and those for Arcom passed the ball. According to Elsa Rodrigues, Pornub’s lawyer, ” it is very difficult to find a satisfactory solution for controlling the age of Internet users “.
In particular, she cited reports published by various players, including the CNIL, which agree that to date there is no miracle technical solution. Lawyers for the five porn sites reproach the Arcom for not giving them the procedure to follow. To which Antoine Beauquier, lawyer for Arcom, replied that ” it is not up to the legislator to make a Prévert-style enumeration. You have to respect your obligations “.
A bill brought in 2019 in England concerning age monitoring on pornographic sites was finally abandoned for fear of privacy violations. The mediation promises to be stormy, but it is a necessary step to find solutions and unblock this situation.