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EU Enforces Age Verification on XVideos, Pornhub, and Stripchat

In a significant move towards safeguarding minors and enhancing online content regulations, the European Union (EU) has added three major adult content platforms—XVideos, Pornhub, and Stripchat—to its list of Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs) subject to the strictest measures under the Digital Services Act (DSA).

XVideos and Pornhub, identified as the world’s top two adult content sites, alongside Stripchat, an adult webcam platform hosting live performances, have been designated as VLOPs, necessitating them to comply with enhanced regulations aimed at protecting minors and addressing the dissemination of illegal content online.

One of the notable requirements outlined in the DSA is the implementation of age verification technology on these platforms. Unlike the current scenario where visitors can access content without undergoing a hard age check, the new regulations aim to ensure that users are subjected to age verification tools to prevent minors from accessing explicit material.

The DSA imposes various obligations on VLOPs, including designing their services to address and prevent risks to the well-being of children. The EU emphasizes the importance of mitigating measures to protect children’s rights and preventing minors from accessing pornographic content online.

Apart from age verification, VLOPs are obligated to document and analyze specific systemic risks associated with their services, especially those related to illegal content and threats to fundamental rights. This includes the dissemination of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and content affecting fundamental rights, such as privacy and human dignity.

To comply with the additional DSA requirements, the three adult platforms designated as VLOPs have a deadline of four months, with the expectation that necessary changes, including the rollout of age verification technology, will be implemented by late April.

The European Commission, responsible for overseeing VLOPs’ compliance with the DSA, underscores the importance of creating a safer online environment for children and expresses readiness to closely engage with the newly designated platforms to ensure proper adherence to the regulations.

While the DSA applies to the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA), it’s noteworthy that the United Kingdom, post-Brexit, is not included in this region. The UK has passed its own Online Safety Act (OSA), featuring stringent penalties for breaches. The UK’s emphasis on child protection is evident, with Ofcom, the country’s internet content watchdog, providing guidance for porn sites to carry out “highly effective” age checks, emphasizing methods such as passport uploads, AI age assessments via webcam, and Open Banking verification.

As these regulations take effect, the landscape of adult content sites in the EU is set to undergo significant changes, with a focus on fostering a secure online environment for all users, especially minors.

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