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Pornhub to Block Access in Kentucky

The pornographic website has blocked nine other states rather than enforce local age verification laws

Pornhub to Block Access in Kentucky

The pornography website Pornhub will add Kentucky to the list of states where its content cannot be accessed.

Rather than comply with a new age verification law, the company has opted to block access to anyone in Kentucky. 

The law – House Bill 278 – goes into effect on July 15. It requires websites that have content deemed “harmful to minors” to verify that a user is 18 or older before allowing access.

We don’t want minors accessing our site and think preventing that from happening is a good thing. But putting everybody’s privacy at risk won’t achieve that,” said Pornhub in a pop-up notice now displayed on its website, per NewsNation.

Lawmakers in Kentucky had the support of pro-family and religious organizations.

Families are facing the harrowing task of protecting their children from a wide range of online harms – including pornography and its devastating consequences,” said the Family Foundation in April, per WHAS11. “We celebrate that Pornhub is leaving Kentucky, as it has done in other states, when laws are passed preventing access for children. We must continue to protect children online from the massive porn and social media industries that should be protecting kids rather than profiting from them."

At least nine other states have already been blocked by Pornhub after passing similar age-verification laws. Lawmakers in Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Utah, Virginia and Texas passed the laws in an effort to protect minors.

Tennessee’s ban was the most recent. It was signed into law by Governor Bill Lee in early June. Lawmakers in the state warned of the long-term consequence of pornography exposure when debating the proposal.

“Exposing children to pornography is a form of child abuse in my opinion,” said state senator Becky Massey, per The Tennessean. “And is harmful to their mental health and developing healthy relationships. We need to apply the same standards in the cyber world that are in place in the physical world. No one under 18 can walk into an adult establishment or buy adult-oriented materials. We need to broaden this to include the same standards for cyber opportunity.”

Aylo, Pornhub’s parent company, released a statement in April arguing that device-based verification rather than age would be a better way to address public concern.

The company said:

Any effective solution to stop minors accessing adult material must be easy to use, secure and enforced equitably across all platforms offering adult content.

We believe that the real solution for protecting minors and adults alike is to verify users’ ages at the point of access—the users’ devices—and to deny or permit access to age-restricted materials and websites based on that verification. This approach requires working with operating system companies and, with their buy-in, stands to minimize the transmission of personal information while protecting minors from age-restricted content across the entire internet.

This means users would only get verified once, through their operating system, not on each age-restricted site. This dramatically reduces both privacy and data theft risks and creates a very simple process for regulators to enforce.

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