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Pornhub blocks access in Utah in response to age verification law

AVN awards 2023Pornhub blocks access for Utah residents in response to a new age verification law.

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  • Pornhub has blocked access to its site for Utah residents.
  • The move was made in response to a new law that requires age verification to access adult content.
  • More states are trying to regulate the types of content minors are exposed to online.

Utah residents trying to access Pornhub are in for an unexpected — and likely disappointing — surprise. 

The porn website has cut off access to its content for anyone with a Utah-based IP address. Visitors to the site will instead see a video of Cherie DeVille, an adult content creator, explaining why the site has been blocked, per Vice

The move is an act of protest in response to a law that will go into effect today.

The Online Pornography Viewing Age Requirements law mandates commercial entities that distribute adult content to verify their users’ ages by having them upload personal information from state-issued IDs. The law also allows parents of minors who come across pornography or other materials deemed harmful to sue companies that do not comply with the new law.

Pornhub’s terms of service already require its users be at least 18 years old.

“While safety and compliance are at the forefront of our mission, giving your ID card every time you want to visit an adult platform is not the most effective solution for protecting our users, and in fact will put children and your privacy at risk,” DeVille notes in the video statement on behalf of PornHub. “In addition, mandating age verification without proper enforcement gives platforms the opportunity to choose whether or not to comply. As we’ve seen in other states, this just drives traffic to sites with far fewer safety measures in place.”

DeVille goes on to advocate for an alternative method of age verification, which would require users to identify themselves through their devices. 

PornHub will not be accessible to Utah residents until a “real solution is offered,” she adds, urging people to contact their state representatives to demand “device-based verification solutions.” 

“We aren’t going to comment outside of what we say in the video when people in Utah go to the website,” a spokeperson from Pornhub told Insider. 

MindGeek, Pornhub’s parent company, has issued the same messaging across its other sites like Redtube, Brazzers, and YouPorn, per Axios

Similar pieces of legislation have been passed in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi that require users of pornographic sites to verify their age through government IDs. A host of other states have begun the process of introducing the same kind of law, per the Free Speech Coalition

These age verification laws apply to any digital publisher with 33.3% of content deemed sexually explicit, per the Free Speech Coalition.

Pornhub has not enacted a state-wide block on its content in Louisiana, Todd Weiler, a Utah State Senator, told The Salt Lake City Tribune.

These laws are indicative of a growing trend to regulate the kind of media minors are able to access online and in schools.

Another Utah law that won’t go into effect until March 2024 will require all social media users to verify their ages. Social media companies will need to obtain parental approval before minors can open accounts on any given platform

In March 2022, Utah enacted the Sensitive Materials in Schools law, which banned books containing “pornographic or indecent” material from schools. Similar bans have been enacted in Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas and Florida.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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