This Wednesday begins in the Cultural Affairs Committee of the National Assembly the examination of a new bill on parental control on devices allowing to go on the Internet. One of the notable goals: to protect minors from access to hateful content and pornography.
The government launched the fast-track procedure in November in hopes of quickly adopting this bill “Aimed at encouraging the use of parental controls on certain equipment and services sold in France and allowing access to the Internet”, carried by the LREM deputy of Bas-Rhin Bruno Studer. This means that there will be only one examination of the text per chamber, one in the Assembly and one in the Senate.
Why this proposal?
Supported by the presidential majority, this proposal is based on the observation that children have increasingly younger access to the Internet and are not sufficiently protected from illegal or shocking content (pornography, violent or hateful content, cyberstalking, etc.).
According to the CNIL, 82% of children aged 10 to 14 go regularly on the Internet without their parents, children would be connected from 7 years old to play online or watch videos and would be registered on their first social network around 8 and a half years old. And “it is estimated that at twelve years, a third of children have already been exposed to pornographic content”, note the authors. However, “only 46% of parents indicate that they have implemented solutions for monitoring their child’s activity, such as parental control,” notes the bill. And this despite a previous law, in 2004, which forced internet service providers (Orange, Free, SFR, etc.) to offer their subscribers a control tool.
What does it contain?
For a while, MEPs no longer intend to force equipment manufacturers to activate parental control software by default, but want it to be installed all the same and be free. The parents would then choose for themselves whether to activate it or not. Article 1 thus provides for “the obligation for manufacturers to install a parental control system and to offer the user its activation when the device is put into service for the first time. “
After receiving a smartphone for example, the user would be offered the option of installing this parental control at the time of installation.
The ANFR (national frequency agency) would be responsible for monitoring compliance with these obligations.
What objects would be affected?
Computers, but also smartphones, tablets and video game consoles would be affected.
The last article of the bill also provides for the harmonization of the characteristics of the various parental control tools currently offered by internet service providers.
After examination in committee on Wednesday, the text will be debated next week in a public session in the Assembly. It will then go to the Senate.