School bullying, calls for violence and access of minors to pornography are subjects that absolutely must be addressed. And we must do it where they really take place today, on the internet. But the risk is to make people believe that we can eradicate these evils with unrealistic measures and announcements, going against the rest of the law and customs. Act, yes. Blindly believing in slogans, no.
With its plan to combat school bullying presented this Wednesday, the French government once again demonstrates how difficult the problems of education and youth are to address in the face of the invisible and impossible to control continent that social networks represent. The confiscation of cell phones or the banning of platforms seem illusory in a world where, when one door closes, it is enough to open several others under a pseudonym, online anonymity being guaranteed by European law. In short, all the technical measures envisaged look complicated to put in place and can be circumvented for those who want to continue their misdeeds.
Two other very lively debates in France are lost in the same type of impasse. First of all, the follow-up to the urban riots at the beginning of this summer. Emmanuel Macron immediately pointed out the culpable excesses made possible by social networks. He went so far as to provoke controversy by threatening to “cut off social networks” in the event of further riots. An idea which, in addition to the problems it poses in terms of freedom of expression, seems incompatible with the law and the functioning of these multinationals, even in a temporary and localized manner.
Another topic in the news: the High Council for Equality submitted a report to the government this Wednesday highlighting the violence of online pornography, consulted at least once a month by half of 12-year-old boys. Beyond the questionable legality of many videos available, the rigor in controlling the age of consumers has been debated for months in France.
A bill to secure the digital space is currently being examined in the National Assembly to facilitate online identity checks, ban cyberstalkers and block pornographic sites that do not strictly verify the age of their users. visitors. The government, however, refuses to commit to some of these measures “for reasons of unconstitutionality under European law”. The United Kingdom and Australia, which had engaged in similar discussions, have failed to put in place the legal tools to effectively control the age of an Internet user while respecting personal data. The risk is therefore to make a lot of noise about not much and find yourself back at square one.
This article is originally published on letemps.ch