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Pornhub Protests Age Verification Laws by Blocking Access in 2 More States

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The parent company of Pornhub has blocked access to all users across eight states to protest the introduction of new age verification laws. 

North Carolina and Montana this week became the latest states where the dominant pornography site is blocked because of laws requiring users to confirm their age through a third-party or digitized verification process, according to Relevant Magazine

Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Utah, and Virginia have also passed age verification laws to protect kids from being exposed to pornography.

Users in these states attempting to access Pornhub receive a message from the company claiming it supports protecting children from harmful material online, but arguing the new laws jeopardize user safety and privacy.  

"As you may know, your elected officials in your state are requiring us to verify your age before allowing you access to our website," the message states. "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. Until a real solution is offered, we have made the difficult decision to completely disable access to our website in your state."

Texas has also passed its own age verification/identification law that has been appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

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slider img 2Pornhub is owned by Aylo Holdings, headquartered in Montreal, Canada. It is the 14th most visited website in the world and the second most visited adult website.

As CBN's Faithwire reported last month, the state of Tennessee could be next on the list after state Rep. Patsy Hazlewood (R) introduced the "Protect Tennessee Minors Act." If passed, the measure would mandate pornography distributors put in place age-verification measures to ensure minors in the Volunteer State are barred from accessing sexually explicit content.

Hazlewood's legislation would require companies like Pornhub to match a user profile image to a verified government-issued I.D.  Websites that don't follow through with the requirement would be charged with Class C felonies, up to 15 years in prison, and $10,000 fines.

"Exposing children to pornography is a form of child sexual abuse and exploitation that can severely damage a child's intellectual development and emotional well-being," said Hazlewood, chair of the state's House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee. "It can lead to difficulty in forming and maintaining positive relationships. This legislation will apply the same safeguards and restrictions to the online world that we already have in place in the physical world. The standard should be the same."

Pornhub and similar sites reportedly prefer the use of device identifiers to verify the age of a user rather than the methods enforced by the state's new laws, according to The Verge

As CBN Digital has reported, there are serious legal concerns for Pornhub and other pornography distributors, not least of which are problems with child sexual abuse material — or child pornography — circulating online.

Last month, Aylo was fined $1.8 million by the U.S. government for allegedly willfully hosting videos of sex trafficking victims. 

James Smith, head of the FBI's New York office, said Aylo Holdings "knowingly enriched itself by turning a blind eye" to victims who told the company they had been deceived and coerced into the videos.

Prosecutors said Aylo has agreed to pay victims compensation. Details about who is eligible and how they can apply will be forthcoming.

In a statement, the company said prosecutors did not find Aylo or its affiliates violated any federal criminal laws prohibiting sex trafficking or the sexual exploitation of minors.

"Aylo is not pleading guilty to any crime, and the Government has agreed to dismiss its charge against the Company after 3 years, subject to the Company's continued compliance with the Deferred Prosecution Agreement," it said.

EU's Digital Services Act Cracks Down on User Verification

The agreement filed in federal court in Brooklyn came after the European Union announced that Pornhub and two other major porn sites would be required to verify the ages of their users, expanding the reach of the Digital Services Act designed to keep people safe on the Internet. 

They are the first porn sites to be targeted by the EU's sweeping Digital Services Act, which imposes tough obligations to keep users safe from illegal content and dodgy products. Violations are punishable by fines of up to 6% of global revenue or even a ban on operating in the EU. 

Other platforms and search engines have also been identified for stricter scrutiny under the DSA, including TikTok, Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, Google, and more.

The law includes provisions to protect children by preventing them "from accessing pornographic content online, including with age verification tools," the commission said in a press release.

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About The Author

Steve Warren is a senior multimedia producer for CBN News. Warren has worked in the news departments of television stations and cable networks across the country. In addition, he also worked as a producer-director in television production and on-air promotion. A Civil War historian, he authored the book The Second Battle of Cabin Creek: Brilliant Victory. It was the companion book to the television documentary titled Last Raid at Cabin Creek currently streaming on Amazon Prime. He holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in Communication from the University of