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Pornhub Blocks Access in Texas After State-Mandated Digital ID Law

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In response to a Texas state law mandating digital ID age verification, Pornhub, a highly trafficked adult content website, has ceased operations in the state as of Thursday.

Visitors to the site are now met with a detailed message from Pornhub criticizing the new legal requirement.

The message denounces the measure as “ineffective” and “haphazard.”

The adult entertainment brand is instead advocating for digital ID responsibilities to be shifted to the creators of internet-enabled devices, rather than individual websites.

The contentious law, HB 1181, was enacted last year by the state’s Republican-led Legislature. It obliges distributors of material “harmful to minors” to verify that their users are over 18, using either a government-issued ID or another reliable system based on public or private data, without keeping any identifying user information.

The digital verification with a government-issued ID opens up issues related to having to give up privacy in order to access a website.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, last month, initiated legal action against Pornhub’s parent company to enforce compliance with this law. He emphasized the state’s commitment to safeguarding children from pornographic content, threatening substantial civil penalties for non-compliance. Paxton stated, “Texas has a right to protect its children from the detrimental effects of pornographic content,” adding his eagerness to “hold any company accountable that violates our age verification laws intended to prevent minors from being exposed to harmful, obscene material on the internet.”

In November, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals validated the law, which imposes fines up to $10,000 daily, an additional $10,000 per day for illegally retaining user data, and $250,000 in cases where minors access explicit content due to these violations.

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