Pornhub BLOCKS users in Utah over age-verification law

"We have made the difficult decision to completely disable access to our website in Utah."

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
On Monday, people across Utah who tried visiting Pornhub were met with a 403 error code informing them that the website was forbidden. It was soon revealed that the online purveyor of adult content had pulled out of the state in response to elected officials' decision to add an extra level of security to prevent minors from accessing the site. 

Under the new law, which is set to go into effect May 3, users would have to verify their age via identification card every time they sought to use websites with content deemed inappropriate for minors

"Dear user," Pornhub said in a statement, "As you may know, your elected officials in Utah are requiring us to verify your age before allowing you access to our website. While giving 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 went on to suggest that the most effective solution to the problem was 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," they continued, "we have made the difficult decision to completely disable access to our website in Utah."

As Fox News reports, Utah SB287 sponsor Sen. Todd Weiler said he still believed Pornhub would eventually cave and reactivate the site. 

"They are complying with [Louisiana's] law, which is essentially the same," he said, "so I expect they will eventually comply with Utah's as well."

Reaction to the new law has been mixed, with some arguing that while it has good intentions, implementation will be difficult.

"There's no clear way to comply with it," Free Speech Coalition spokesperson Mike Stabile pointed out. "Utah's digital ID does not currently allow online verification, so many adult sites are just planning to block all visitors from the state."

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