Pornhub blocks access in Utah over age verification law

Pornhub and other adult websites are now blocking access to Utah users over a new age verification law that takes effect on Wednesday.

Pornhub blocks access in Utah over age verification law


Utah's new age verification law, which takes effect Wednesday, has caused some of the biggest adult websites on the internet, such as Pornhub, to block access for Utah users.

This week, Pornhub, and other adult websites controlled by MindGeek's parent company, started blocking Utah IP addresses. Instead of adult content, users who visit these sites are now shown a message opposing SB287, Utah's law signed by Governor. Spencer Cox signed a law in March that makes porn sites liable if their content is made available to anyone under the age of 18

The message stated that 'as you know, your elected representatives in Utah require us to verify your ages before we allow you access to our site'. While safety and compliance is at the forefront our mission, providing your ID card each time you visit an adult platform will not be the most effective way to protect our users and, in fact, put your children and privacy at risk.

A video showing an adult actor reading out the message added to the statement that age verification could lead users to sites with 'far fewer safety precautions' It also called on policymakers to "identify users by device" rather than requiring them upload their photo ID.

The message concluded by urging Utahns to "demand device-based authentication solutions" from policymakers.

Pornhub refused to comment beyond the message that it sent to Utah users, as well as the likelihood of attempts by people to bypass the IP filtering.

Not only porn sites face age verification requests. Federal and state lawmakers are increasingly pushing to mandate a social media minimum age. US Senators proposed last week a ban on the use of social media by children under 13 years old. Arkansas has also approved age requirements for social media websites.

Porn can be an indicator of how technology and content will be regulated. Louisiana implemented one of the first age restrictions for adult websites in the country.

Pornhub is still available in Louisiana, despite Louisiana's age verification law. The website, which claims to receive 130 million daily visitors, continues to be accessible. Pornhub users in Louisiana will be directed to a new page that asks them for their age using the digital ID system of Louisiana, called LA Wallet.

A spokesperson from the site informed CNN that traffic to the website has dropped by 80% since Louisiana's law came into effect. The spokesperson also noted that Utah does not have a digital ID system similar to Louisiana.

Utah authorities offer residents the option of creating an electronic version for their driver's licence that can be accepted by local credit unions and liquor stores, as well as at Salt Lake City International Airport. A website for the Utah system states that as of March more than 24 000 people had registered. The system is designed to allow users to store their licenses on an app. It is not clear if the system can perform age verification online.

Pornhub did not immediately answer a question regarding whether or not it had evaluated the Utah electronic licensing program. The pilot was conducted in 2021 and became official in 2022.

MindGeek owns an age verification company called AgeID. It is used in Germany but not in the United States. MindGeek did not immediately respond to an inquiry for comment.

In response to allegations that Pornhub facilitates the spreading of a variety of abusive materials, the site requires that performers uploading content undergo a process of age and identity verification since 2021.