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Indiana and Mississippi Are Sued Over Online Age Verification Digital ID Laws

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A group associated with big (and smaller) tech companies has filed a lawsuit claiming First Amendment violations against the state of Mississippi.

This comes after long years of these companies scoffing at First Amendment speech protections, as they censored their users’ speech and/or deplatformed them.

We obtained a copy of the lawsuit for you here.

It might seem hypocritical, but at the same time, even a broken clock is right twice a day. In this case, it is the industry group NetChoice that has launched the legal battle (NetChoice v. Fitch), at the center of which is state bill HB 1126 which requires age verification to be implemented on social networks.

NetChoice correctly observes that forcing people (for the sake of providing parental consent) to essentially unmask themselves through age verification (“age assurance”) exposes sensitive personal data, undermines their constitutional rights, and poses a threat to the online security of all internet users.

The filing against Mississippi also asserts that it is up to parents – rather than what NetChoice calls “Big Government” – to, in different ways, assure that their children are using sites and online services in an age-appropriate manner.

HB 1126 is therefore asserted to represent “an unconstitutional overreach,” and if passed, the industry group said, “may result in the censorship of vast amounts of speech online.”

Age verification is a controversial subject almost everywhere it crops up around the world, particularly in those countries that consider themselves democracies.

Another state, Indiana, is being sued on similar grounds – violation of constitutional protections – and for similar reasons, namely, the age verification push.

This time, it’s not done in the name of Big Tech, but by what some reports choose to dub “Big Porn.” Indiana State Attorney General Todd Rokita is named as a defendant in this lawsuit, brought by major porn sites, industry associations, and marketing and production companies.

And while those behind the state law which is about to come into force next month claim it is there to protect minors from adult content (via age verification), the plaintiffs allege that the law breaks not only the First, but also the Fifth, Eighth and 14th Amendments of the US Constitution – and the Communications Decency Act (CDA).

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