eCommerce

Porn portal xHamster threatens suspension

The high-reach porn portal xHamster is threatened with a network block due to disregard of the protection of children and young people. “At xHamster we have a final decision against which no legal remedies are possible,” said Tobias Schmid, the director of the State Media Authority in North Rhine-Westphalia. Other portal operators are currently still suing the notices affecting them before the Higher Administrative Court for North Rhine-Westphalia. The legal situation is “pretty clear” from the point of view of his authority: “It is pornography, there is no age verification and German law is applicable,” said Schmid.

Because xHamster has so far refused to communicate with the supervisory authority and has not implemented any of the measures to make its offer legal, the network operator has now been approached. These include Vodafone and Telekom: “We have informed you of the fact that there is illegal content in your networks that must be blocked and we are currently listening to it. Then we will make a decision.”

“We only implement access blocks technically if they are legally arranged,” said a Telekom spokesman on request. At Vodafone it was said: “We are currently working on the legal assessment.” In the answer to the State Media Authority, the decisions of the Düsseldorf Administrative Court of December 1 will be taken into account. The court had found the state institution to be right. Other porn portals are also threatened with shutdown.

“Every twelve-year-old now has a smartphone and can switch from Tiktok to these offers.”

xHamster announced that network blocking was “far from an optimal solution”. Through them, young people would only switch to smaller sites where they would be exposed to more extreme content. The company is ready to work with the German authorities. Currently, age checks are the only way to keep young people away from adult content. Such a technology can be used. But this must be done across the industry.

“I hardly know anyone to whom we have sent more letters and emails than xHamster and we have received exactly zero responses,” said Schmid, on the other hand. However, the portal is free at any time to comply with the law and thus to end the proceedings against itself. He was “somewhat astonished” that one of the network operators hired a law firm to ask for a generous extension of the deadline and “did not accept his socio-political responsibility any faster,” said Schmid. After all, it is about the endangerment of children and adolescents.

It would be regrettable if they remained defenseless for months. “After all, it is about a clearly illegal content. If that doesn’t work better now, the legislature has to look at it again,” said Schmid. “Every twelve-year-old now has a smartphone and can switch from Tiktok to these offers.”

In the past, access to the network was via the home PC. “But the parents no longer have access to it today.” The situation just changed. “This is not about freedom of expression, but about a business model that makes use of an illegal practice.”

A large number of parents in Germany seem to be behind the procedure, as a representative opinion poll on behalf of the Children’s Fund showed: 93 percent of the parents questioned were in favor of a reliable age check and harsher penalties for violations.

Reference-www.sueddeutsche.de

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