Germany will block one of the biggest porn sites

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German child protection regulators are on the verge of blocking one of the world’s largest pornographic websites. Officials should issue a blocking order to the country’s largest internet service providers, saying the pornographic website, believed to be xHamster, should be made inaccessible to 83 million people in Germany.

Blocking order, which the Commission for the Protection of Minors in the Media could issue in the coming weeks (Commission for the Protection of Minors in the Media in German, or KJM), follows after xHamster did not introduce age-verification checks to stop access to pornography under the age of 18. The order is the latest salvo in a two-year regulator campaign forcing all pornographic websites available in Germany to conduct age checks.

Lawmakers around the world – including Canada, France, the UK and some US states – are seeking to introduce more measures aimed at preventing children from accessing adult material online. But Germany’s move is one of the most comprehensive measures taken so far, and critics have compared it to censorship.

German officials are taking action against four major pornographic websites, says Marc Jan Eumann, chairman of the KJM. The group, which represents the country’s 14 state authorities, is responsible for implementing a broad agreement agreed by all states on child protection. In addition to other German child protection laws. Eumann refuses to confirm the four websites against which KJM is taking legal action. However, German reporting says cases are against xHamster and three websites, YouPorn, Pornhub and MyDirtyHobby, which are all owned MindGeek.

Regulators have been trying to force pornographic websites to introduce age-verification checks – which may include the transfer of personal documents – since September 2019. Much of this has been encouraged by one state regulator, Tobias Schmid of the North Rhine-Westphalia State Media Administration. was criticized for his views on sex, but the matter is now being resolved by KJM as well.

Eumann says companies should set up age verification systems to make sure their visitors are not children. The law says pornography should only be accessed by adults, Eumann says. In all four cases, the pornographic websites, which have German versions, were accused of failing to introduce age verification systems.

Regulators first contacted a pornographic site, believed to be xHamster, in March 2020, and then others by June 2020. Requests for age verification have now turned into a legal battle and three cases are awaiting hearings in one of the administrative courts in Düsseldorf, Eumann says.

In the case of xHamster, it is believed that there was no response from the website owner. As a result, the case is considered to be the most advanced and could result in the order issuing the website being blocked in Germany in the coming weeks. At the end of June 2021, KJM identified a company that hosts xHamster i he asked to make the site inaccessible. “We have an order to block a hosting provider based in the Netherlands,” says Eumann. “If the service provider doesn’t comply, we’ll take the final step.” That order expired earlier this week, KJM confirmed. “The final step is to take action, a blocking order, against the German access supplier,” Eumann adds.

In reality, this means issuing a blocking order to Germany’s largest web providers – including Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, O2 and 1 & 1 – requiring them to block the website for people trying to access it in Germany. The largest suppliers will be targeted first, followed by the smaller ones, and a DNS-level blockade is likely to occur. When you browse the web, the URL you enter in your browser’s address bar turns your DNS into an IP address. Imposing a DNS block would mean that anyone who types the address of a pornographic site into their browser will not be able to see the page.

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