Pornhub blocks multiple states as legislators pass age verification laws to protect children

By Jonathon Van Maren

On July 1, the state of Virginia passed a law that has been dubbed “the porn passport,” an age verification law which requires porn websites to verify that the age of users is 18 and above, on the heels of similar bills passing in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The law, which was proposed by Republican state Senator William M. Stanley, passed with wide support – and it has teeth. SB 1515 states: 

[The bill] creates a civil cause of action for any commercial entity that knowingly or intentionally publishes or distributes on the Internet material harmful to minors, as defined in the bill, and that does not take reasonable steps to verify that the age of a person attempting to access such material harmful to minors is 18 years of age or older.

Pornhub, one of the largest global porn giants, has been fighting age verification bills across the U.S. Virginia’s SB 1515 requires all porn websites to create an age verification system that includes uploading ID digitally, and Pornhub, which is owned by parent company Mindgeek (based out of Montreal), has been open about the fact that age verification dramatically limits traffic. The executives at this vile and predatory company are fully aware that millions of minors access their content, and although they hotly deny it, underage kids viewing porn is part of their business model.  

The Free Speech Coalition, an industry group representing the major players in Big Porn, is already suing the states of Utah and Louisiana over age verification and is considering its options in Virginia, as well. Ironically, the porn industry is alleging that age verification threatens people’s privacy. (The Free Speech Coalition is perhaps best known for taking a case against a federal child pornography statute to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2002 on free speech grounds). A spokesman for the FSC, Mike Stabile, stated that age verification would be tossed out by the courts: “It’s not a matter of if these laws will be ruled unconstitutional, but when.” 

Pornhub, meanwhile, is taking independent action. After blocking access to the site in Utah and Mississippi they are now also blocking access in Virginia. 

“The safety of our users is one of our biggest concerns. We believe that the best and most effective solution for protecting children and adults alike is to identify users by their device and allow access to age-restricted materials and websites based on that identification,” Pornhub posted in a statement on their website. “Until a real solution is offered, we have made the difficult decision to completely disable access to our website in Virginia.” In short, instead of implementing age verification, Pornhub would rather pull out of the state – a win-win for Virginia. 


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