PornHub blocked in Utah over SB287 age-verification law

Adult media creation company MindGeek has blocked access to its websites in Utah, including PornHub, Brazzers, RedTube, YouPorn, and Reality Kings, in response to a new law requiring sites to verify if a visitor from the state is 18 or older.

The move comes after Utah’s governor signed the ‘ bill in March, which goes into effect today.

Under this bill, pornographic sites are required to verify that a visitor is at least 18 years old using uploaded government IDs or a third-party age verification service.

“Requires a commercial entity that provides pornography and other materials defined as being harmful to minors as a substantial portion of the entity’s content to verify the age of individuals accessing the material,” reads S.B. 287.

Failure to verify the age of visitors from Utah would make the company “liable to an individual for damages resulting from a minor’s accessing the material, including court costs and reasonable attorney fees as ordered by the court.”

MindGeek is one of the world’s largest online adult content creators, claiming to have over 125 million daily visits and 100 billion video views a year from its network of sites.

BleepingComputer has confirmed that, in response to SB287, MindGeek’s properties are no longer accessible to visitors from Utah and instead display a message telling visitors to contact their representatives about switching to device-based age verification solutions.

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

In addition, 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.

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.

Please contact your representatives before it is too late and demand device-based verification solutions that make the internet safer while also respecting your privacy.”

Visitors to PornHub are also greeted with a video from adult film star Cherie DeVille, who reads the above message to the camera.

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BleepingComputer has contacted MindGeek to learn more about the device-based age verification systems they are proposing, but an answer was not immediately available.