[DE] New age verification system approved for protection of minors

IRIS 2020-7:1/23

Jan Henrich

Institute of European Media Law (EMR), Saarbrücken/Brussels

On 19 May 2020, Germany’s Kommission für Jugendmedienschutz (Committee for the protection of minors in the media – KJM) announced that it had approved another age verification system (AVS module). The ‘Robo-Ident’ module developed by Nect GmbH is a so-called partial solution for the age verification of closed user groups. It identifies people using an automated biometric data comparison process. Such partial age verification solutions can be built into the general youth protection concepts used by different content providers.

In practical terms, the system enables users to identify themselves on portals and apps using software designed by Nect GmbH, which guides the user through the necessary stages. In the first step, the user creates a video showing their identity document from several different angles. They must then record a video of their face, during which they have to read out two randomly generated words that appear on the screen. The system checks whether their lip and facial movements match the words. Finally, it compares the photo on their identity document with their face in the video. Once all these steps have been successfully completed, the user is sent back to the relevant portal or app.

The KJM is the central supervisory body for youth protection in private broadcasting and telemedia in Germany. As an organ of the Landesmedienanstalten (state media authorities), it monitors compliance with the provisions of the Jugendmedienschutz-Staatsvertrag (Inter-State Treaty on the protection of minors in the media – JMStV). Under the treaty, content that is, for example, pornographic, listed or clearly harmful to minors can only be transmitted if the provider ensures that only adults can access it, namely by creating closed user groups. So-called age verification systems are used to control such closed user groups. Content that may impair child development can be distributed if, for example, the provider ensures through a technical system that it cannot normally be accessed by children and young people in the relevant age groups. The KJM checks in advance, on behalf of companies, whether such technical systems meet the legal requirements.



This article has been published in IRIS Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory.