Age Verification in USA

Requiring age verification for porn and social media


 

Citizen censors...

Louisiana now requires age verification for porn on the pain of being sued by residents for 'harm'caused


Link Here31st December 2022
Full story: Age Verification in USA...Requiring age verification for porn and social media
Republican Louisiana state representative Laurie Schlegel pushed through her bill  HB 142 earlier this year requiring age verification for any website that contains 33.3% or more pornographic material. The law takes effect from 1st January 2023.

According to Schlegel, websites would normally verify someone's age in collaboration with LA Wallet. An app available for anyone who has a Louisiana state ID or driver's license. Other options are also allowed.

It will be the website's responsibility to ensure age verification is required when accessing their site in Louisiana. There are no censors to enforce the law, instead the law allows residents to sue porn sites for any claimed harm to children caused by viewing porn on a website without age verification.

There is legislation in Washington, D.C. that looks to implement something like this on a national level. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, introduced a bill similar to Schlegel's.

 

 

Only OnlyFans and Pornhub...

So how is porn age verification panning out in the US?


Link Here 22nd January 2023
Full story: Age Verification in USA...Requiring age verification for porn and social media
The US state of Louisiana has commenced a new law requiring porn websites to obtain identity/age verification before allow access to viewers. The law is not enforced by official censors. Instead it simply allows Louisiana to sue for damages for any harm claimed as a result of underage porn viewing. So how is it panning out in practice?

It is the second week of the new law. Vice has found that very few sites have actually implemented the age verification system. As it stands, only PornHub and OnlyFans check Louisiana's residents' ages, others don't.

This may have something to do with the way the age check is implemented: when you access PornHub from Louisiana, you're met with a screen asking you to verify your age. From there, you're redirected to AllPassTrust, a Cyprus-based company specialized in age verification. AllPassTrust links to LAWallet, the state of Louisiana's digital driver's license wallet, which provides you with a code that you need to enter on AllPassTrust.

The way it's looking now, only Louisiana drivers licenses are accepted for verification, which is a problem for anybody currently in the state that doesn't have one. Sure, practically everybody in the United States has a driver's license, but there are those who don't, and visitors or short-term residents of the state won't be able to verify their age since they won't have a license issued in Louisiana.

According to local Louisiana newspaper L'Observateur, opponents are already gearing up for a legal challenge.

The idea is spreading though. There are reports of national politicians proposing similar laws to Louisiana.

Also two Republican state senators in Arkansas introduced a bill this week requiring age verification before entering a website offering pornography. Senate Bill 66, which proposes a Protection of Minors from Distribution of Harmful Material Act, is sponsored by Sen. Tyler Dees and Sen. Jim Petty. The proposed legislation is a copycat version of Louisiana's new law.

 

 

Verified censorship...

Internet porn censorship marches across many US states


Link Here12th March 2023
Full story: Age Verification in USA...Requiring age verification for porn and social media
The Arkansas House has approved an amendment to SB 66, a Republican bill that would require age verification before entering a website offering pornography, over confusing language. SB 66 was introduced in January by state Senator Tyler Dees, who later admitted that his state initiative is only a steppingstone toward the ultimate goal of a federal mandate.

A vote in the Arkansas House sent the amended bill back to the Committee on House Rules for further consideration, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported. Representative Mindy McAlindon told the paper that the amendment was needed to clarify distinctions between 'corporate entities' and 'third party vendors' in the bill.

SB 66 is a copycat version of Louisiana's Act 440, a new law enacted in January after being championed by a religious anti-porn activist Republican legislator.

Meanwhile Virginia lawmakers recently passed a bill with near-unanimous support that would require pornography websites to more stringently verify whether a person is 18 before allowing them access to the site. Websites would have to implement more advanced methods of their choosing to verify age, such as requiring users to submit copies of government-issued identification, biometric scans or use other forms of commercial age verification software.

Under the bill, a civil cause of action, or a lawsuit, could be brought on behalf of a minor who suffered damages from access to pornographic websites that didn't use age verification measures. No one spoke in opposition when the bill was debated during the session, but some people took to social media to express their concerns.

The bill now heads to Gov. Glenn Youngkin's desk for his signature.

 

 

A virtual chastity belt...

Pornhub fights back against internet porn censorship in Utah


Link Here14th May 2023
Full story: Age Verification in USA...Requiring age verification for porn and social media
Pornhub is fight back against Utah's new law requiring visitors to porn websites to verify their age by dangerously identifying themselves before being able to watch adult content..

Pornhub began totally blocking Utah-based internet connections' from access to its content when the law took effect May 3. The site redirects visitors to a video message of adult film actress Cherie DeVille explaining that the company disabled access over concerns that the law is not the most effective solution for protecting our users and in fact will put children, and your privacy, at risk.

The Free Speech Coalition, a group representing the adult entertainment industry, also sued to block the law's enforcement that same day, making a similar argument about the trade-off regarding safety, privacy, and adults' freedom to browse the web as they wish.

The group has also vowed to sue over unsafe age-verification measures set to take effect soon in other states.

 

 

So how is Pornhub responding to age verification requirements in several US states?...

Just how stupid is it to expect people to type in personal ID into any foreign porn site that asks?


Link Here17th June 2023
Full story: Age Verification in USA...Requiring age verification for porn and social media
Pornhub has released a new public service announcement on its homepage for site visitors in Virginia, Mississippi and Arkansas imploring them to contact their representatives and protest the age-verification laws for online adult content recently passed in each of those states.

The announcement features 2023 AVN MILF Performer of the Year Cherie DeVille, who last month appeared in a similar video for the website that greets visitors in Utah, where access to the site has been otherwise blocked in retaliation for a similar law that went into effect there May 3.

Meanwhile, in Louisiana, where yet another age-verification measure took effect January 1 of this year, Pornhub is currently complying with the requirement using a state-sanctioned digital ID mobile app called LA Wallet, making Louisiana the first state to implement a digital driver's license. According to a story today by tech site Ars Technica, a Pornhub spokesperson reported that Pornhub was one of the few adult sites to put an ID requirement into place in the state, and since doing so, Pornhub's Louisiana traffic dropped by approximately 80 percent as adult content seekers presumably chose to visit sites that do not require ID.

DeVille underscores this point noting:

As we've seen in other states where similar laws have passed, this just drives activities to other sites with far fewer or even no safety measures in place. This clearly demonstrates that poorly executed age verification solutions only make the internet more unsafe.

The Ars Technica story went on to add, Pornhub reported that Louisiana users have already experienced identity theft as a result of the age verification law there.

 

 

Age of censorship...

Age verification for porn starts on 1st July in Virginia


Link Here28th June 2023
Full story: Age Verification in USA...Requiring age verification for porn and social media
Virginia is the next jurisdiction in the United States to implement a law that requires all adult entertainment websites to have age verification measures in place or face civil action. Similar to age verification laws implemented in states like Utah and Louisiana, Senate Bill (SB) 1515 was adopted with virtually universal support from lawmakers in both of the state's major political parties. Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed SB 1515 into law at the behest of parental rights groups and organizations that believe that age verification mandates are the best way to prevent minors from viewing age-restricted content, like pornographic sites.

Industry trade group the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) has filed suit in federal district courts in both Utah and Louisiana seeking to render the age verification laws in those states unconstitutional on the grounds of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. FSC director of public affairs Mike Stabile characterized the law in Virginia as dangerous and and said the organization has reached out to Gov. Youngkin with little results.

The Virginia law suffers from the same technological and constitutional problems as the laws in Utah and Louisiana, Stabile told AVN in an email:

Adult consumers shouldn't have to risk surveillance or secure government approval in order to view legal content in the privacy of their own home.

We are looking at potential suits in every state that has passed this law, including Virginia.

Adult industry attorney Corey Silverstein told AVN that the new Virgina law is foolish.

Virginia's law, much like Louisiana, Utah, and others are not going to survive First Amendment challenges. While these politicians are patting themselves on the back for pushing through these blatant speech suppression tools, they seem to have forgotten about the First Amendment that they swore to protect when they took office.

Virginia's age verification law goes into effect on July 1, 2023.

 

 

Escape tunnels...

Fans will have to use a VPN to access Pornhub in Virginia


Link Here1st July 2023
Full story: Age Verification in USA...Requiring age verification for porn and social media
One of the most visited sites in the world, Pornhub, has blocked users in Virginia over the state's new age verification law.

The new law taking effect July 1 now requires websites with pornographic content being viewed in Virginia to verify that users are at least 18 years old before they can view the site. The law, proposed by Republican state Sen. William M. Stanley Jr. (Franklin), sailed through the Virginia General Assembly.

Pornhub decided that it would be blocking all Virginia users rather than try to implement unsafe and privacy endangering age verification.

Pornhub wrote in a message to those attempting to log in:

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.

Until a real solution is offered, we have made the difficult decision to completely disable access to our website in Virginia.'

 

 

 

 

Pornhub and age verification...

Pornhub explains its policies in response to internet censorship laws enacted in several US states


Link Here 31st July 2023
Full story: Age Verification in USA...Requiring age verification for porn and social media

Pornhub recently had to make the difficult decision to block access to users in Virginia and Mississippi due to newly passed Age Verification laws. These states have joined Utah and Louisiana where, earlier this year, similar laws were introduced. While these new laws claim to protect children from accessing harmful material online -- something we fully support -- they not only fail to do this, but also jeopardize user safety and privacy.

What does age verification mean?

In the context of these laws, age verification requires users to prove that they are 18+ to view adult content.

There are multiple ways that a user can prove their age, but any effective method requires them to submit some form of personally identifiable information ("PII"). By assigning this responsibility to the platform(s) visited by a user, this means submitting private information many times to adult sites all over the internet, while normalizing disclosure of PII across the internet. This is not a privacy-by-design approach.

It also creates a substantial risk for identity theft. Since age verification software requires users to hand over extremely sensitive information, it opens the door for the risk of data breaches. Whether or not your intentions are good, governments have historically struggled to secure this data. It also creates an opportunity for criminals to exploit and extort people through phishing attempts or fake AV processes, an unfortunate and all too common practice.

Age verification is a good thing, if done correctly

Safety and compliance are at the forefront of our mission. We firmly believe age verification can make the internet a safer space for everyone, when it is done right. Unfortunately, the way these new laws are executed by lawmakers is ineffective and puts users' privacy at risk. Those seeking adult content will inevitably end up on irresponsible sites that don't enforce safety, privacy, consent, or content moderation.

Back in January, we saw the outcome of this firsthand when Louisiana passed a similar law. Pornhub was one of a tiny handful of websites to comply with the new state law requiring websites prevent minors from accessing them by employing age verification solutions.

The Louisiana law and other copycat state level laws have no regulator, only civil liability, which results in a flawed enforcement regime, effectively making it an option for platform operators to comply. Consequently, traffic to Pornhub dropped by approximately 80% in Louisiana, but we know that people didn't stop consuming porn overnight because of this new law. They just very easily moved to pirate, illegal, or other non-compliant sites that don't ask visitors to verify their age. Very few sites are able to compare to the robust Trust and Safety measures we currently have in place to protect both the users viewing content on Pornhub from engaging with potentially dangerous content and provide a safe platform for creators to monetize their content and engage with fans. Most other sites unfortunately do not take these same extensive measures towards community protection and without barrier to entry, is where viewers risk ending up. Therefore, these laws have not only failed at protecting children, but have introduced further harm by displacing traffic to sites with few or zero Trust and Safety measures.

What you need to know -- a device-based solution

More of these laws are coming, and the safety of our users is one of our biggest concerns. However, the best and most effective solution for protecting children and adults alike is to identify users at the source: by their device, or account on the device, and allow access to age-restricted materials and websites based on that identification. This means users would only get verified once, through their operating system, not on each age-restricted site. This dramatically reduces privacy risks and creates a very simple process for regulators to enforce.

Who will these new laws affect?

These new laws will affect everybody differently. For example, Content Creators will get redirected to a separate login flow that will still allow them on the site to upload content. This is because, as verified users on Pornhub, which is the required status for anyone wishing to upload, they have already verified their age with government issued ID using Yoti. However, for site visitors in Utah, Mississippi, and Virginia, they are greeted by a video featuring Cherie Deville who explains why we had to make the difficult decision to block them from accessing Pornhub.

What is the ideal solution?

The only viable solution that will make the internet safer, preserve user privacy, and stands to prevent children from accessing material harmful to minors is performing age verification at the source: on the device itself.

What can community members do?

To fight against these haphazard and dangerous laws, we encourage all members of our community to stand up for your freedom to enjoy and consume porn privately. There are a few ways you can do this.

First, spread the message on social media. Using your platform to raise awareness and to help your fans understand the implications of these poorly designed laws is the first step in making a change. Be loud, be vocal, and show how important it is for us to get this right. We believe the only way for these laws to be effective is to have age verification on the devices used to access adult content.

Second, contact your local government and encourage your fans to do the same! Change begins when the public applies pressure and contacts lawmakers. Write them letters or emails, call their offices, tweet at them, demand changes and demand answers. It is their job as civil servants to respond to concerned citizens. In your letters, you can request device-based age verification solutions. By doing this, your safety and privacy, as well as the safety of your children, are protected much better than entering your ID every time you want to visit an adult website. In the meantime, share this blog widely to help spread the word!

And third, stay informed on legislative updates. Please check back often on the Free Speech Coalition AV page.

Don't give up! We know that normalizing sex work and sexual expression is an uphill battle, but it can be done. We must be vocal about it. Change begins with raising our voices, educating others, and engaging in these important conversations on our socials to spread the message. For more information, visit the Free Speech Coalition .

 

 

Age of the VPN...

The Free Speech Coalitions warns porn websites about a new internet censorship law starting 1st September in Texas


Link Here25th August 2023
Full story: Age Verification in USA...Requiring age verification for porn and social media
The Texas age-verification and labeling law is scheduled to take effect September 1, 2023. While multiple age-verification laws have taken effect this year, Texas will join Louisiana in allowing direct government enforcement.

According to the law, the Attorney General may fine a site with adult content $10,000 per day, and up to $250,000 if it fails to adequately verify the age of visitors and a minor is able to access it.

Additionally, the Texas law requires all adult sites to affix warning messages to any page with adult content stating the supposed harms of viewing adult material. These 'warnings' are as follows:

TEXAS HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES WARNING:

  • Pornography is potentially biologically addictive, is proven to harm human brain development, desensitizes brain reward circuits, increases conditioned responses, and weakens brain function.

  • Exposure to this content is associated with low self-esteem and body image, eating disorders, impaired brain development, and other emotional and mental illnesses.

  • Pornography increases the demand for prostitution, child exploitation, and child pornography.

Free Speech Coalition and a collection of leading adult platforms have filed a legal challenge to the Texas law, including a motion for preliminary injunction. While we are hopeful the challenge will succeed, and that a decision will be made prior to the start of enforcement, all members should be aware of the law and the risks of non-compliance. Alison Boden, Executive Director of Free Speech Coalition said:

This is a blatantly unconstitutional law, but the stakes are high for individual adult businesses with websites accessible in the state of Texas. We urge every platform and creator to review their potential exposure to legal liability with their legal counsel.

Free Speech Coalition has created landing pages for platforms that geo-block access to their sites from within the state of Texas , as it has in other states that have instituted age verification. The page explains why the site is blocked, and provides an avenue for residents to contact their representatives. However, geo-blocking a state does not necessarily provide safe harbor from the law.

The law, including the required age-verification methods and the legal warning stipulated, are available here .

 

 

Onerous burdens and unconstitutional censorship...

Federal judges block internet censorship laws about to commence in Texas and Arkansas


Link Here 3rd September 2023
Full story: Age Verification in USA...Requiring age verification for porn and social media
Hours before controversial internet censorship laws were set to take effect in Texas and Arkansas, two federal judges granted preliminary injunctions temporarily blocking them.

The more narrow Texas law sought to restrict minors from accessing content that is meant for adults. The law in particular required age/ID verification to access porn websites. It was opposed by free speech groups and adult performer industry groups.

The Arkansas law, known as the Social Media Safety Act, is broader and would prevent minors from creating accounts without parental permission on platforms earning more than $100 million a year. The tech industry trade group NetChoice, which represents Google, Meta and TikTok, among others, sued in June to block the law on the grounds that it is unconstitutional and would place an onerous burden on digital platforms.

In Arkansas, U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks sided with NetChoice , saying that the law is not targeted to address the harms it has identified, and further research is necessary before the State may begin to construct a regulation that is narrowly tailored to address the harms that minors face due to prolonged use of certain social media. Brooks added that age--gating social media platforms does not seem to be an effective approach when, in reality, it is the content on particular platforms that is driving the State's true concerns.

The more narrow Texas law seeking to stop minors from accessing adult content online was temporarily blocked Thursday by District Judge David Alan Ezra in a move that the Free Speech Coalition said in a press release will protect citizens from facing a chilling effect on legally-protected speech.

The temporary injunctions block the laws from taking effect until further adjudication. It is unclear whether both Arkansas and Texas intend to appeal.

 

 

Censorship re-verified...

Age/Identity Verification is back on for Texas porn viewers


Link Here23rd September 2023
Full story: Age Verification in USA...Requiring age verification for porn and social media
A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has issued an administrative stay on the preliminary injunction blocking Texas House Bill 1181 from entering into force. This means that the law requiring age verification for internet porn is now in effect, at least until a full hearing challenging the internet censorship law as unconstitutional.

House Bill (HB) 1181 is a controversial law requiring an age verification regimen for all adult websites that have users from Texas IP addresses. The law was challenged in a federal district court last month due to a measure in the bill that would require adult websites to additionally post health warning labels at the top and bottom of web pages and on marketing collateral.

The Free Speech Coalition, the parent companies of the largest adult tube sites in the world, and pay-sites affiliated with these platforms sued the state of Texas , arguing that HB 1181 is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment.

They argued that a government cannot require a privately owned website to issue a public health warning when the claims in the warnings are not accepted by mainstream medicine, psychology and neuroscience.

Senior U.S. District Judge David Alan Ezra agreed with the plaintiffs and issued a preliminary injunction temporarily blocking Texas from enforcing the law. but it was this decision that was overturned in this appeal.

 

 

Taxing censorship...

Alabama set to go further than other states to censor adult websites


Link Here13th November 2023
Full story: Age Verification in USA...Requiring age verification for porn and social media
Alabama lawmakers have proposed a bill for the upcoming legislative session that would block pornographic sites from anyone under 18 years old.

Representative Ben Robbins plans to sponsor a bill that will require someone to verify their age using a photo ID in order to access sites that offer pornographic material.

His bill will aslo require companies to register with the state as adult content distributors. It will also create additional state taxes for items sold on pornographic websites, and tax memberships Alabamians purchase through a site. The money will be allocated for mental health services in the state.

Lastly, the bill will require distributors to have written consent from people who are posted on the site.



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