eco Criticises Planned New Regulations for the Technical Protection of Minors in the Media (JMStV)

On 8 November 2023, the Broadcasting Commission of the German federal states published a draft of the JMStV reform (6th MÄStV), which aims in particular to improve the technical protection of minors in the media and the possibilities of law enforcement. eco – Association of the Internet Industry has commented on the published plans of the German federal states in a statement and appeals for clarifications and adjustments to be made with regard to the proposed new regulations.

eco considers it essential to build on existing systems in the further development of the technical protection of minors in the media.

Alexandra Koch-Skiba, Head of the eco Complaints Office, emphasises at this point that existing youth protection systems have proven their worth and should be strengthened:

“Numerous systems and offers are already established on the market in the area of technical protection of minors in the media. These offer solid protection for children and young people. Parents and guardians have also learnt to adapt and use these systems to their individual needs. We should strengthen and not thwart these proven systems in regulatory developments. That is why the association is calling for clarification so that user profile and account-based solutions in particular are also considered youth protection devices within the meaning of the new German Interstate Treaty on the Protection of Minors in the Media (JMStV).”

In addition, eco is extremely critical of the planned expansion of labelling obligations: eco is calling for the planned labelling obligations in the area of telemedia to be restricted to content providers responsible for the content and to be limited to games and films.

With regard to the new labelling obligations for app providers, eco points out that an obligation to label harmless content – even if it is only a de facto obligation so that this content is displayed when the youth protection device is activated, or apps remain usable – contradicts the principle of the protection of minors in the media that harmless content may be distributed without further ado. eco believes that restricting this principle is neither sensible nor proportionate in terms of the protection of minors.

Regarding the age labelling, eco points out that international connectivity is essential, especially in view of the large number of international providers. Against this background, eco strongly advises that reference be made in an appropriate form to already established and successfully applied systems, such as the “International Age Rating Coalition”.

Further information on the eco Complaints Office is available here.

Position Paper on EU CSAM Regulation