Addressed to the sites where these illegal contents are found, these requests are made by the office composed of police and gendarmes which manages Pharos. In 2021, they almost tripled compared to 2020, rising from 50,000 to 133,000.

An evolution linked in particular to the duplication of child pornography images on multiple servers in order to ensure their online maintenance, resulting in separate withdrawal requests for each of them.

“What is certain is that it is impressive”, told AFP Laurence Pécaut-Rivolier, adviser to the Court of Cassation and member of Arcom, the audiovisual policeman (ex-CSA) .

From June 7, she will be responsible for verifying that requests for withdrawal or blocking of sites are not abusive.

Until now, this function of “qualified personality” provided for by law was occupied by a member of the CNIL (National Commission for Computing and Liberties) but Arcom is therefore preparing to recover this competence.

– Scenes of beheadings –

Last year, the various requests to restrict access to child pornography content (removal, but also blocking of sites by access providers and delisting) amounted to some 118,000, and around 15,000 for those of a terrorist nature.

In almost nine cases out of ten, it was therefore child pornography content, but the proportion of terrorist content is increasing. With different stakes.

“Child pornography is found mainly on small sites, dark web (parallel version of the internet, editor’s note) and others because those who want it will look for it”, explains Ms. Pécaut-Rivolier.

“For the apology of terrorism, it is on the contrary to reach the widest possible audience, so it happens that we find them on more well-known media and operators,” she adds.

“For child pornography, there is a great diversity of content: both amateur and professional financial content, films, photos, manga”, says the magistrate, according to whom many come from Eastern countries.

For their part, “the contents of apology of terrorism, posted by organizations like Daesh (the Islamic State organization, editor’s note), are often small, almost professional films”, she continues.

They are made of “very strong propaganda images”, chaining “almost instantaneously scenes of beheadings and others showing affectionate fathers with their children”.

– Psychological support –

To assess the merits of sanctions, an essential question must be answered: do these contents correspond to the definition given by law?

“For the apology of terrorism, that brings us back to a difficulty of analysis: from when and how far does it go?”, Underlines Ms. Pécaut-Rivolier, citing a case with which her predecessor was confronted.

“It was at the time of the yellow vests: a terrorist image had been put forward by a surfer, who wrote below: What an idea to get tired so much when it is enough to block the gas stations to put the souk ” , she recalls. “It had been considered as an apology for terrorism when we were clearly not in it”.

If the qualified personality considers the penalties abusive, it recommends that the specialized office reverse course. If this recommendation is not followed, the qualified personality can seize an administrative judge.

Last year, Ms. Pécaut-Rivolier’s predecessor made four recommendations.

At Arcom, the magistrate will be assisted by a dozen people to view all contentious content.

Given their extreme violence, this requires psychological support, according to Ms. Pécaut-Rivolier: “There will be very regular follow-up sessions, including group sessions that will allow us to talk together about what we see, what we live and how we can bear it”.