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HomeTechnologyPornhub shuts down in Texas to protest age verification law

Pornhub shuts down in Texas to protest age verification law

Pornhub has disabled its site in Texas in response to the state’s online age verification law. The site now displays a message to users in the state that says having to provide an ID when accessing an adult website “is not an effective solution for protecting users online.”

Last year, Texas enacted a previously blocked age verification law (HB 1181) that requires users to upload photos of their government IDs (or use another third-party verification service) before accessing a pornographic website. The law also requires porn sites to display health warnings that claim porn impairs “human brain development,” among other unproven issues. Texas sued Pornhub’s parent company Aylo in February, alleging that Pornhub failed to comply with the new law.

This isn’t the first time Pornhub has disabled its site in protest of age verification requirements. Last year, Pornhub blocked access to its site in Mississippi, Virginia, Arkansas, and Utah. It also went dark in North Carolina and Montana in January.

“As you may know, your elected officials in Texas are requiring us to verify your age before allowing you to access our website,” Pornhub says in a notice to users. “Not only does this impinge on the rights of adults to access protected speech, it fails strict scrutiny by employing the least effective and yet also the most restrictive means of accomplishing Texas’s stated purpose of allegedly protecting minors.”

Pornhub argues that on-device age verification is “the only effective solution for protecting minors and adults alike.” This method could involve using facial recognition or another method to verify a user’s age locally on their device.

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“Unfortunately the Texas law for age verification is ineffective, haphazard, and dangerous,” Alex Kekesi, Aylo’s vice president of brand and community says in an emailed statement to The Verge. “Not only will it not actually protect children, it will inevitably reduce content creators’ ability to post and distribute legal adult content and directly impact their ability to share the artistic messages they want to convey with it.”

Pornhub may soon run into issues outside the US, too. The European Union’s Digital Services Act (DSA) designates Pornhub and other adult sites as “Very Large Online Platforms,” which could require them to implement age verification and take down illegal content. Pornhub sued the EU over its designation last month, according to a report from Politico.



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