Pornhub Blocks Access to Site from Utah in Response to Age Verification Law

Pornhub has disabled access to its website for users located in Utah in response to the state’s recently enacted law mandating age verification for online porn providers.

Vice News reports that following the introduction of a new Utah law requiring age verification for online porn providers, Pornhub has reponded by blocking access to its platform for users residing in the state. Users who attempt to access the website from an IP address in Utah are now greeted by a video from porn star Cherie DeVille, who attempts to provide a thorough justification for the choice.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox speaks during an interview at the Utah State Capitol Friday, March 4, 2022, in Salt Lake City. Some police statements made during internal investigations into shootings and other high-profile incidents will no longer be accessible to the public under a law that Cox plans to sign. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox speaks during an interview at the Utah State Capitol Friday, March 4, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

In the video, DeVille states, “As you may know, your elected officials in Utah are requiring us to verify your age before allowing you access to our website. 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.”

The SB 287: Online Pornography Viewing Age Requirements law was signed into law by Utah Governor Spencer Cox in March, and it will go into effect today. The rule mandates that businesses that disseminate content deemed detrimental to children use appropriate age verification procedures on users trying to access that content. Content that clearly offends minors by showing or depicting explicit sexual acts is referred to as harmful material.

DeVille’s video also raises concerns about the lack of proper enforcement in age verification laws, noting that it “gives platforms the opportunity to choose whether or not to comply” and can inadvertently lead to increased traffic to sites with fewer safety measures in place. DeVille emphasizes that “to protect children and user privacy, any legislation must be enforced against all platforms offering adult content.”

Following the adoption of a comparable law in Louisiana in January, Pornhub started requesting identification from users in the state. Since then, imitation legislation has been proposed and approved in several other states, including Arkansas.

Age verification rules are criticized for failing to protect minors online and directing them to less secure parts of the internet. Additionally, they claim that such legislation puts adults at an increased risk of extortion, data hacks, and identity theft. Experts have also highlighted how simple it is for consumers to overcome these limitations using virtual private networks (VPNs).

Utah has a reputation for enforcing strict laws against adult content. Governor Cox signed a bill forcing device manufacturers to incorporate adult content filters on all smartphones and tablets sold in Utah in 2021. In 2016, the state deemed porn a “public health crisis,” and in 2016, the state labeled porn a “crisis.” It is important to note that historically, the majority of Utah’s legislators have belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and that Utah once had the title of “online porn capital” of the United States, with the biggest number of porn users logging on in the country.

Read more at Vice News here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan


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