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Pornhub Blocks Access in North Carolina as New Law Takes Effect


CREDIT: Althea Manasan via CBC

In anticipation of a new state law in North Carolina requiring adult websites to verify user ages, Pornhub, one of the world’s largest pornography websites, took action last week by blocking access for some North Carolina users. The website redirected users in the state to a message urging them to contact lawmakers and oppose the impending law. This move aligns with Pornhub’s strategy in other states, such as Montana, which also faced a similar law taking effect on Monday.

Expressing concerns about the law, Pornhub’s message to North Carolina users was, “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.”

The North Carolina law, passed by lawmakers in September with an effective date of January 1, does not specify the methods websites should use for age verification. It broadly outlines the use of a “commercially available database” or “another commercially reasonable method” for age and identity verification.

The practical implications of the law remain uncertain. Some age verification software, for instance, requires users to hold their driver’s license up to a web camera for comparison with a live image of their face. Law enforcement is not expected to directly police these sites; instead, the legislation establishes a process for parents whose minor children can access pornography to sue providers. The dynamics surrounding the enforcement and impact of the law will unfold as it comes into effect.

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