German authorities want large porn sites to implement age verification or be blocked via DNS

Posted on Oct 27, 2020 by Caleb Chen
German authorities want large porn sites to implement age verification or be blocked via DNS

Internet service providers (ISPs) in Germany may soon be forced to apply DNS blocks to stop users from accessing porn sites like Pornhub, xHamster, and YouPorn. German authorities, led by a State Media Authority director named Tobias Schmid, have been pushing for large porn sites like those previously mentioned to implement age verification of the upload-your-ID-type. These demands are coupled with the threat of bans if age verification isn’t implemented – which it hasn’t yet been.

Germany to porn sites: Implement age verification or be blocked

The German authorities are specifically targeting a handful of larger porn sites to push age verification – or blocks – on. It all came to a head when internet service providers (ISPs) in Germany including Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom refused to set up voluntary DNS blocks, and now German authorities are in the process of legally forcing it on ISPs. All this, to pressure certain porn sites to implement age verification technology – which the UK has already shown just won’t fly. The thing is, such actions wouldn’t reduce access to porn for anyone. The Vice President of xHamster, Alex Hawkins, explained to Motherboard:

“Protecting minors from adult content found online is a positive idea. And one that everybody should stand behind. But what is happening here instead is an attempt to censor a few of the big adult industry market players, leaving hundreds of smaller adult websites unsupervised. We have been selectively asked to restrict access by implementing AV [Age Verification]. What would a user do in this case? A user would simply choose another free (not subject to AV) website. Will such an approach protect minors? Hardly. The majority of users would opt for another adult website without AV.”

Even in a possibly near dystopian future where popular porn sites like Pornhub are blocked by German ISPs, the myriad smaller ones would still be accessible. Even if those were somehow blocked – and there’s little indication that they would be – porn would still be available.  Emily van der Negal, the author of the book Sex and Social Media, told Motherboard:

“You can’t stop people from being horny. Pornhub doesn’t own porn. People, including teenagers, will find somewhere to access adult material. If there’s anything we’ve learned in the past few years, it’s that porn will always find a way.”

As graffiti art with 4 numbers and 4 punctuation points has shown, DNS blocks aren’t that hard to bypass. Even if Germany forces ISPs to upgrade the blocks, VPN use can allow German netizens to use the internet from a more free jurisdiction. Make no mistake, these attempts to make porn sites play ball are tangible steps down the slippery slope of censorship.

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