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Pornhub blocks Utah from site

by on03 May 2023

Cox blocking doomed to fail

The adult site, Pornhub, has blocked access to its site by anyone who lives in Utah after Utah's Governor Spencer Cox [yes, really] signed a law requiring ID checks. 

Anyone accessing Pornhub from a Utah-based IP address will not see the Pornhub homepage, but instead is met with a video of adult performer Cherie DeVille, explaining that they won't be able to visit the site.

The block comes on the back of recent moves by Utah elected officials to confirm "age checks" before visiting the site. While that might be laudable, it seems that Utah wants users to hand over their ID cards and personal details every time they visit and does not really have any plans to enforce the rules.

"As you may know, your elected officials in Utah are requiring us to verify your age before allowing you access to our website," DeVille says. "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."  

Pornhub's argument is that mandating age verification without proper enforcement gives platforms the opportunity to choose whether or not to comply.

"As we've seen in other states, this just drives traffic to sites with far fewer safety measures in place. 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," she said.

The safety of our users is one of our biggest concerns. We believe that the best and most effective solution for protecting children and adults alike is to identify users by their device and allow access to age-restricted materials and websites based on that identification. Until a real solution is offered, we have made the difficult decision to completely disable access to our website in Utah.

In 2016, Utah declared porn a “public health crisis,” and "an epidemic that is harming the citizens of Utah and the nation.” Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have recently and historically represented the majority of legislators in Utah, and in 2009, Utah was considered the “online porn capital” of the United States, with the most porn consumers logging on in the nation. Cox has also signed a law that would require device manufacturers to add adult content filters on all smartphones and tablets sold in Utah.

Experts say that age verification doesn’t work to protect children online, and only works to drive material that is harmful to minors to less safe spaces on the internet, while exposing adults to more risk of identity theft, private data hacks, and extortion. Immediately after SB 287 passed the House and Senate in Utah using virtual private networks became a hotly searched topic in the State.


Last modified on 03 May 2023
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