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Pornhub and xHamster are being banned in Germany

Under new child protection laws, porn websites such as Pornhub and xHamster are being banned in Germany.

Why? Because the site’s pretty much nonexistent cooperation in implementing proper age verification is why. Everyone is apparently ‘over 18’ just by clicking a button.

83 million Germans are soon going to be heartbroken. The proposed porn blocking order will allegedly be issued in the upcoming weeks by the Commission for the Protection of Minors in the Media.

Porhub
Photo: Pornhub Instagram

A.k.a these pornographic websites becoming inaccessible.

The CPMM is responsible for enforcing a broad treaty unanimously agreed upon by all German states in child protection.

This proposition has arisen from an ongoing campaign to have not only Pornhub and xHamster implement proper age verification checks, but all pornographic websites.

Officials are currently taking action with a focus on four major websites.

Chairman Marc Jan Eumann of KJM (Kommission für Jugendmedienschutz) has refused confirmation on what websites are under the spotlight. However, according to German reports, the cases are against Pornhub, XHamster, YouPorn and MyDirtyHobby.

These four websites, in addition to many other pornographic websites, had been accused of failing to introduce systems that enable age verification.

It has long been addressed that websites that Pornhub perpetuate child abuse and sex trafficking rings.

In addition to Germany, other regulators around the world including Canada, France, the U.K, and a handful of U.S states are also investigating more measures directed at preventing minors from accessing ‘adult material’ online.

It has only been since 2019 that they have been forcefully trying to get pornographic websites to introduce adequate age checks.

According to reports, the owners of xHamster failed to respond to this. Because of their lack of cooperation, the site’s blocking has been ordered to commence in the coming weeks.

But, it isn’t as simple as it sounds.

Basically, this would mean issuing a blocking order to Germany’s (and Europe’s) major web and tele providers; Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, O2 and 1&1, requesting that they block the accused websites for people trying to access it in Germany.

From this, these German web and tele companies could potentially challenge such orders by approaching the country’s legal system, resulting in the age verification legal battle extending for years.

This could likely happen given that this isn’t the first time internet providers were asked to block websites voluntarily and refused those requests:

“We’ve already talked to them, they are not happy,” Eumann said.

Censorship of certain porn sites in different countries isn’t a new approach. In 2017 the Philippines government censored Pornhub immediately after the website revealed data that Filipinos spent more time on the pornographic website than any other nationality.

Here in Australia, it’s been recommended that digital IDs should be used to access pornography. We all know a lot of people aren’t going to consent to this.

Despite this not being new at all, Germany’s proposed actions have been considered one of the most drastic measures thus far, with critics accusing this as censorship.

The co-founder of adult site Lustery and curator of the Porn Film Festival Berlin, Paulita Pappel, has commented that such actions are ‘comparable to China’s censorship’ and could set the pornography industry back decades in terms of its reputation and distribution, she said.

Pappel also noted her worry on the focus of age verification as it can filter down adult companies with fewer resources to implement them:

“Smaller companies, queer performers of colour, these are the people that are going to suffer the most.”

All we can do is wait to see what happens with Germany and Europe’s regime on censorship and website usage.

Maybe it’s time to start going old school and scouring eBay for vintage porno mags?

6 months on

Half a year later, Germany is continuing their crackdown on adult sites that do not integrate effective age-verification systems. The government has extended its online safety bill to target all porn sites, not just Pornhub and xHamster.

This crackdown has also extended to platforms such as Twitter. As of March 2022, the platform has been made to block over 60 adult accounts. This is because German law requires an age verification system for adult content, and Twitter does not operate with this system.

When trying to view blocked Twitter accounts, a message pops up saying the page is being “withheld” due to “legal demand”. Pictures, bio, posts and any other customisable features will be blank.

This censorship has faced criticism for three key reasons.

Firstly, because it rings true to Pappel’s claim. Blocking adult workers is going to affect smaller companies and minorities the most.

Secondly, many observers believe the law lacks transparency and is fueled by conservative values, not protecting minors. The law could also be secretly harnessed by the government to track users’ porn habits. Without further transparency from Germany, we can’t be certain – but it’s definitely a possibility that data is being collected.