It was probably only a matter of time before access to the German porn platform xHamster was blocked in this country. The legal concerns about the portal were too great. Now it is certain that the site will be blocked by the five largest German providers.
Unanimous decision in the KJM
What was already certain for experts for many weeks, can now be read in black and white in a decision of the Commission for the Protection of Minors in the Media (KJM). Thus, the porn website xHamster will be subject to extensive blocking in Germany in the future. The reason for this is major concerns about the protection of children and young people. They could easily access the website and consume partly disturbing content. The KJM announced its decision to the public last week. For the operators of the portal, this now means that the five largest Internet providers in Germany must set up a block.
Violation of JMStV
The KJM cites a serious violation of the Interstate Treaty on the Protection of Minors in the Media (JMStV) as the reason. That the Internet providers must ensure a blockade of the porn website, the media institutions of the individual states have already determined by decision. Once the relevant deadlines have expired, access will no longer be possible. The problems surrounding xHamster are by no means new. As early as the spring of 2020, the authorities called on the porn portal to revise the criticized abuses. The authorities focused on the fact that xHamster should set up a corresponding age check.
Age verification is mandatory
This is mandatory for all comparable portals on the World Wide Web. The JMStV stipulates that pornographic content may only be made accessible to adults. In order to be able to determine the affiliation to this user group, the website operator must provide appropriate mechanisms. Age verification is the most sensible and common option here. The chairman of the KJM said of the commission’s result:
“Our legal mandate is to protect children and young people from content that does not correspond to their developmental level.”
Protection from psychological harm
With the result of the commission is by no means the general ban on porn portals on the net clear. Rather, it makes it clear that one must not disregard the need to protect children. The negative effects of consuming pornographic content on children and young people can be too serious. Therefore, a reliable age check must be linked to the legality of a website with pornographic content. In this regard, Eumann made it clear that the rights of children far outweigh those of website operators.
“Since xHamster doesn’t do that, we resort to blocking orders as a last resort. We are protecting children, not the porn industry’s business model.”
Net blocking is counterproductive according to xHamster
A completely different opinion on the blockade on the Internet has the portal operator itself. Thus xHamster has expressed itself to the German Press Agency with clear words. The porn portal is of the opinion that such blocks are
“far from an optimal solution”.
After all, according to xHamster, these do not have the consequence that children and young people refrain from consuming comparable sites. Instead, it could drive them to lesser-known platforms, some of whose content is much worse. The statement also indicates that the last word has obviously not yet been spoken in the xHamster case. The operator is open to an age check and would even like to cooperate with the responsible politicians. This would then possibly lift the Internet blockade. However, the porn portal only wants to implement this on one condition. A corresponding verification would have to be mandatory for all providers of content from the porn industry.