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App that includes the age verification for adult content available at the end of the summer

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The Minister for Digital Transformation and Public Service, José Luis Escrivá, has presented Cartera Digital Beta, the “wallet” (digital document holder) that includes the system for verifying the age for accessing adult content, after completing the design phase of the tool with the publication of the technical specifications.

Escrivá explained that the availability of the technical specifications of the Digital Wallet not only closes the design phase but will also allow all operators involved in preventing minors from accessing adult content to carry out the necessary preparatory work so that their users can use this system as soon as it is available. In this regard, the minister pointed out that the current development phase “will last a little over two months, so that it will be available to all citizens at the end of the summer.”

The minister has stressed that the implementation of the age of consent accreditation system is part of the “more than necessary” great country agreement that the Government is promoting to safeguard the health, well-being and safety of boys, girls and teenagers. Already in the Draft Organic Law for the protection of minors in digital environments, the obligation of service providers to use an age verification tool to prevent minors’ access to adult content was included. Regarding the non-obligated actors, Escrivá has indicated that “he expects their maximum collaboration since it is a problem that challenges us all.”

There is also a broad consensus at European level on the need to protect minors in the digital sphere, as shown by the Leuven Declaration and the joint document entitled “Empowering citizens and businesses in the digital transformation through a streamlined and ambitious use of the EUDI Wallet”. Furthermore, the Digital Wallet is part of the eIDAS2 standard, which establishes that content platforms must accept the use of European digital identity wallets by October 2027 at the latest.

Worrying data on access to inappropriate content

Escrivá has pointed out that “the data we see about minors’ access to adult content and its possible consequences are what have led us to develop this tool as quickly as possible.” In this sense, he has praised the “fantastic work” being carried out by the inter-ministerial working group launched in March to develop the tool and which “will make a solution available to users in record time.” The president of the working group, Carmen Cabanillas, general director of Public Governance, accompanied the minister in the presentation.

The minister has highlighted some “worrying” data on access to pornography by minors, such as the fact that 7 out of 10 teenagers consume pornography regularly in Spain or that their first access is between the ages of 9 and 11. According to data from the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Youth and Childhood, access is mainly via mobile phones, either through instant messaging, websites or social networks.

“The consequences of this access to adult content are very serious and involve us all,” highlighted Escrivá, who pointed out that the vast majority of young people between 18 and 26 years old consider that these contents are faithful to real sexuality and for many it is their only source of affective-sexual information, which causes them to act by imitation and, in certain cases, by domination of men over women. “All of this, according to the studies that have been analysed in the working group, causes distortions in the perception of sexuality, emotional and sexual problems and risk of addiction,” according to the minister, who also highlighted the 116% increase in sexual assaults carried out by minors in the last five years. “This age verification system that we present today is one of the most necessary and effective measures to combat this problem,” as Escrivá highlighted.

Credential of age verification

Cartera Digital Beta will be a mobile application that will securely store the adult credential issued by the Government of Spain, which will be presented to the adult content platform when the session starts. The system incorporates double authentication to prevent minors from accessing adult devices. The application will include other functionalities from its launch and will gradually incorporate new utilities within the framework of eIDAS2.

In addition, a governance architecture has been designed based on trusted whitelists that allows system actors to identify themselves as such. The whitelist of platforms for adults managed by the Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure, the whitelist of verification applications managed by the Secretary of State for Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence and a final one of credential issuers managed by the General Secretariat of Digital Administration.

The National Cybersecurity Institute (INCIBE), for its part, will manage, with the collaboration of other actors, a list of pages with adult content not subject to Spanish jurisdiction with the aim that browsers can verify the age of consent before presenting its contents.

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