Legal loopholes surround the government’s digital card to curb minors’ access to porn

Legal loopholes surround the government’s digital card to curb minors’ access to porn
Legal loopholes surround the government’s digital card to curb minors’ access to porn

“We are facing a very serious problem.” The Minister for Digital Transformation and Public Service, José Luis Escrivá, began with these words this Monday the presentation of the age verification system on adult content platforms – pornography – sponsored by the Government. The minister then listed the causes of the problem: “Seven out of ten teenagers in Spain consume pornography regularly; 30% say that it is their only source of emotional-sexual information; 50% act by imitation; it is addictive,” he recited.

This was the context in which the Executive presented its solution to control access to adult content on the Internet – that is, to prevent minors from accessing porn – and which has generated a stir on social networks, especially due to the Digital card with 30 accesses for 30 days. “The minister has not explained himself well,” Borja Adsuara, a lawyer, university professor and expert in Law and Digital Strategy, told this newspaper. Europe commands, Spain obeys “There has been a lot of talk about ‘pajaport’ and that the Government wants to control how much people masturbate, but the reality is that The obligation to verify the age of users was not invented by the Government, it comes from three European laws: General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Digital Services Regulation and the General Law on Audiovisual Communication,” Adsuara clarifies. “You can be in favor or against, but it is the law and it must be complied with,” he warns.


This regulation, Adsuara recalls, aims to prevent minors from accessing platforms to which they should not have access. “And “It’s not just on porn sites,” he warns. “Why isn’t there talk of gambling sites or social networks?” he asks. “Only those over 14 years of age can access the networks.” To comply with the European mandate, the Moncloa, through the department headed by Escrivá, has proposed a mobile application. “It is a pioneering tool,” clarified the minister. However, it has raised doubts and misgivings. This regulation, Adsuara recalls, aims to prevent minors from accessing platforms where they cannot do so. “And it is not only on porn pages,” he warns. Porn beyond the web Initially, this plan is designed for the large portals of pornographic content, but a good part of it circulates on social networks such as X, which officially allows this type of images, and also instant messaging applications. “It is voluntary, but Telegram, for example, has the option of calling us and using our tool,” said Carmen Cabanillas, general director of Public Governance. “I remember the case of Telegram and Judge Pedraz, do you think he will respond?” says Núñez. “A lot of this type of content is shared in groups and private conversations. Can the State intervene in this? I don’t think so,” he warns.


In a few months, Spanish citizens will have restricted access to certain content on the Internet. Which ones? “Those platforms with adult content that are based in our country,” said Cabanillas. For example, the ten most visited pornographic websites in Spain are excluded. The nationality of these websites is Cypriot, American, Mexican, Dutch. “It doesn’t matter if they are not in Spain,” explains Adsuara. “It’s like the GDPR, if a company provides services in Europe it has to have its headquarters here and therefore be governed by community regulations,” he adds.

Control or protection Protect minors or control adults? This is a question that many users have asked themselves. “The system presented guarantees anonymity,” says Adsuara. The Government assures that the mobile phone generates a key that never leaves the device. “It is assumed that this is anonymous and therefore guarantees privacy in communications between the Beta Digital Wallet and the service provider,” says Ingrid González Hernández, a lawyer at Ceca-Magán Abogados. “I am very concerned about the 30 credentials for 30 days,” says Leandro Núñez, a lawyer at Audens. “I would not use it in the first place,” he warns.

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