Pornhub Pulls Out of Texas in Age-Verification Law Dispute

Pornhub withdraws from Texas, disputing the state’s age verification requirements.

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Pornhub Pulls Out of Texas in Age Verification Law Dispute

Pornhub has officially ceased operations in Texas, a direct response to the state’s new age-verification law. The legislation mandates user age verification on adult entertainment websites, which the platform is disputing. 

The decision follows a federal appeals court’s support for the Texas law, House Bill 1181, despite previous objections based on the First Amendment grounds.

The new legislation aims to prevent minors from accessing adult content online. However, Pornhub argues that such measures are inefficient and pose a privacy threat.

Understanding the age-verification law

Texa’s new age-verification law requires adult websites to verify the ages of users through government-issued IDs or by outsourcing the process to third parties.

Pornhub strongly objects the suggested methods. In a message displayed to users in Texas, the company argues that such verification is “ineffective, haphazard and dangerous.” 

The platform further claims the legislation won’t effectively shield minors and could lead to data breaches, compromising user privacy.

Previously, a group of adult content advocates and companies challenged the law. This led to a U.S. District judge halting implementation due to its potential to harm free speech.

But last week, the U.S. Courts of Appeals overturned the lower court’s ruling, paving the way for Texas to enforce it.

The impact on users and privacy

In the wake of the law, Pornhub had beforehand advocated for on-device age verification as an effective privacy-preserving alternative. 

Through its court submission, the platform argued that such an approach would allow verifications without requesting sensitive personal information. 

Other approaches suggested by Porhhub included parental control on devices and ISP-default restriction for adult sites until an adult requests for unblocking.  

Texas residents turning to VPNs

Despite Pornhub’s compliance with the law, Texas users have sought ways to evade the restrictions, notably through virtual private networks (VPNs)

Through a Reddit thread, users are now mulling adopting VPNs to bypass the hurdles. The services allow spoofing a person’s actual location, enabling access to Pornhub despite the statewide ban. 

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