Since July 2020, a law has required pornographic sites to check the age of their users. In France, access to this type of content is forbidden to minors under the age of 18. A solution has been on trial since last March to check users’ age more effectively. A brand-new system that no longer requires a simple declaration, but rather proof of majority.
As the French National Assembly considers the future law governing the digital space, numerous debates are emerging concerning online anonymity and privacy. One of the main issues is age verification for access to adult sites. While everyone recognizes the importance of protecting young people from such content, concerns are surfacing about the impact of this practice on privacy and personal data.
Double anonymity, the preferred option
While the avenues to be explored remained unclear until now, MP Paul Midy recently explained the technique envisaged for this verification: the principle of double anonymity.
The person providing the certificate of majority does not know what it will be used for. Conversely, the site on which the attestation of majority is used does not know the identity of the person. This is known as the principle of double anonymity.
In practical terms, identity is verified by a trusted third party, who is responsible for checking the user’s ID, or even using facial recognition technology. This proof of majority is then transmitted anonymously to the user site. No personal data is transferred between these two partners.
The procedure is not restrictive for the user, who benefits from quick and easy verification.
For my colleagues in the Chamber, I explain how age verification will work on porn sites.– Paul Midy (@midy_paul) October 5, 2023
Take Marc Dorcel, for example. pic.twitter.com/YQZNlHXfza
This anonymized identity verification procedure could well be of interest to other sectors, on other subjects linked to the protection of minors: the sale of alcohol on the Internet, CBD, sports betting, gambling sites, establishments forbidden to minors, and even social networks for the implementation of “digital majority”.