Regulatory and compliance

France enacts new rules on pornographic content in the digital environment

Published on 24th May 2024

Broadcast regulator to establish age verification technical standards to create a safer internet for minors

Green code on smartphone and laptop screens

The SREN law is now enacted as the Law no. 2024-449 of 21 May 2024 aimed at securing and regulating the digital space (“Loi n° 2024-449 du 21 mai 2024 visant à sécuriser et à réguler l'espace numérique”) after its publication in the Official Journal of the French Republic on 22 May 2024.

Conformity with French Constitution

This enactment follows the decision of the Conseil Constitutionnel (Decision no. 2024-866 DC of 17 May 2024) which confirmed its conformity with the French Constitution. Certain provisions regarding the French broadcast regulator Arcom’s new powers had been referred to the Conseil Constitutionnel.

Under the SREN law, Arcom has powers to establish a set of standards on an age verification system to ensure that websites and video-sharing platform providers that broadcast pornographic content are not accessible to minors, to enforce the standards and the prohibition on providing access to pornographic content to minors by website or video-sharing platform providers, and to order blocking measures to online intermediaries (see our previous Insight).

Arcom's new powers

In particular, the Conseil Constitutionnel found compliant with the French Constitution that Arcom shall establish a set of standards setting out technical requirements relating to the reliability of age checks on users and respect for their privacy, and specifying the procedures for carrying out and publicising audits, since such standards have a precisely defined purpose and scope.

The Arcom standards should be published within two months of the enactment of the new law.

Likewise, Arcom may impose blocking or lack of referencing measures on websites and video-sharing platform providers that broadcast pornographic content to minors, since such measures would follow an unsuccessful formal notice from Arcom, be limited to a maximum of two years and be subject to a posteriori review for cancellation by the administrative court.

A decree is expected on the implementation of this procedure.

Despite the suggestions of the Conseil d’Etat regarding the entry into force of the procedure, the SREN law is effective from 1 January 2024, except for ongoing proceedings under the previous law of 30 July 2020.


* This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.

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