Pornhub Blocks Access to Its Site for Virginia-Based Users Following New Age-Verification Law

Kos Temenes
By Kos Temenes
July 2, 2023USshare
Pornhub Blocks Access to Its Site for Virginia-Based Users Following New Age-Verification Law
Children play video games on smartphones in a file photo. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Pornhub has restricted Virginia-based users from accessing their site. The move comes in response to recent legislation that was passed in the state, requiring those wishing to access adult content to verify their age.

The bill came into effect on July 1, making Virginia the second U.S. state to be blocked by Pornhub. Prior to the ruling, Utah had previously passed a similar law relating to the accessibility of adult content, known as Senate Bill 287.

The pornography website completely disabled its websites for individuals located in Utah on May 1, The Epoch Times reported.

When accessing the site, users with a Virginia-based IP address will now be prompted by a video message featuring porn actress Cherie Deville, in defiance of the ruling.

“As you may know, your elected officials in Virginia 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 message states, Virginia Mercury reported.

It goes on to point at what it perceives to be a futile attempt at age verification, due to the selective approach which allows some platforms to opt out of the requirement, adding that the most effective solution to the problem would be user verification and access based on the respective device rather than providing identification.

The message further points out that users wishing to bypass the legislation are likely to move on to sites with fewer restrictions.

“Very few sites are able to compare to the robust Trust and Safety measures we currently have in place. To protect children and user privacy, any legislation must be enforced against all platforms offering adult content,” it continues.

According to patron of the bill state Sen. Bill Stanley (R-Franklin), the aim is to radically reduce childhood exposure to pornography.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin said that all potential consequences were considered before the bill was signed into law.

“I believe that children should be protected from pornography and I want to make sure that we do that,” Youngkin said at the time.

According to the bill, adult content providers who knowingly engage in showing content deemed “harmful to minors” must get user verification that proves the user is above the age of 18, either by providing copies of government-issued identification or a reasonable alternative.

Such content would include anything that pertains to nudity, sexual conduct or excitement or anything that could appeal to the “prurient, shameful, or morbid” interest of minors, without displaying anything of serious literary, scientific, or artistic value.

Despite there not being any criminal repercussions for violations, non-compliance would incur civil liabilities.

The legislation has prompted opposition from some free speech advocates, who similarly to Pornhub, argue it would increase the risk of personal data being compromised by hackers.

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