Five pornographic sites have been put on notice by the CSA to block access to minors. Will children now be better protected?
Olivier Blazy: I hope so, but I also fear that, given the delays, in the middle of the holidays, these sites are content with a simple palliative. They will probably request payment online, considering that only adults of age have payment cards. But this is not completely true and, above all, the user will leak a lot of information. The bank will know that you have access to such and such a website, for example. It will also encourage users to register their Carte Bleue on sites that are not very honest.
We worked with members of the National Commission for Informatics and Freedom (Cnil) to design a much more secure age verification system in terms of personal data. Our solution, technically developed, is currently being validated. We hope that it meets both the requirements of the CSA in terms of child protection and those of the CNIL which does not want a user profiling tool.
How would your “digital lock” be more protective?
O. B. : It will ensure that only authorized people can access a website, but also that no information is leaked about who has access to what. It is this balance that we would like to guarantee. On a technical level, it is a fairly classic system of recourse to a trusted third party, quite similar to the France Connect system for online procedures with the administrations.
The big difference is that the intermediary will not be the State, in order to rule out any idea of population control, but a private body holding identifying information: banks, notaries, insurers, etc. They know who is of legal age and can provide this information to the site confidentially. Thus, each time an Internet user connects to a pornographic site, the latter will receive, from the intermediary retained, information on the user’s age and will have to block access to it or not. The intermediary will not know that his client wants to connect to a pornographic site.
Its generalization only awaits a political green light?
O. B. : The obstacle is no longer a technical one, but a societal and political one: society must accept, or not, adopt such a tool. That said, the challenge is complex because if we want to offer this service, the sites must be brought into compliance. It’s not a very heavy adaptation for them, but they have to accept it. This supposes that this lock is imposed at the international level: if France is isolated, only the French sites will be confronted with this additional control. The obligation must therefore be broader, to encourage sites to comply, without creating distortion of competition.
The right scale is undoubtedly Europe. The size of its market is sufficient that sites do not want to lose it. In addition, a will seems to be emerging on the political level. The protection of children is a shared concern. Many governments are also trying to push their solutions. Internationally, the ISO standard is also working on this. The locking of pornographic sites is therefore conditioned on a work of standardization and compromise between countries. We have to find a system that displeases as few people as possible.