Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Pornhub wins major U.S. lawsuit over age verification requirement on adult websites

“This is a huge and important victory against the rising tide of censorship online,” added Ms Boden.

• September 2, 2023
Pornhub [photo credit : Pornhub]

Popular pornographic website, Pornhub, has scored a major victory after a U.S. federal judge ruled that a law seeking age verification for porn consumers and health labels on the dangers of pornography is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment rights.

Hours before the implementation of a major law that would have mandated Pornhub and other adult sites to display a 14-font “Texas Health and Human Services Warning” which reads “Pornography increases the demand for prostitution, child exploitation, and child pornography” on their website and verify the age of all visitors before granting them access to sexual content, judge David Alan Ezra ruled against the law on Thursday.

Mr Ezra of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas blocked the law with a preliminary injunction after the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) — joined by Pornhub’s owner, Mindgeek — presented convincing arguments as to how the law, if implemented, would expose the digital IDs of porn consumers, thereby violating their rights to privacy.

“We’re pleased that the court agreed with our view that [the law’s] true purpose is not to protect young people but to prevent Texans from enjoying First Amendment protected expression. The state’s defence of the law was not based in science or technology, but ideology and politics,” said Alison Boden, FSC’s executive director.

“This is a huge and important victory against the rising tide of censorship online,” added Ms Boden.

The FSC argued that the government may be able to monitor the rate at which sexual content is being consumed, which would be a violation of privacy.

“We are proud to fight for our industry and the performers that use it to legally earn a living, and we are glad to see the court recognize that this law is unconstitutional and would have required adult entertainers to falsely imply that their content poses health risks,” Pornhub parent company, Aylo, told Ars.

“The law, set to take effect September 1, would have given the Attorney General the power to fine a site with adult content more than $3 million per year if it did not require visitors to present a digital ID or undergo background checks to establish age,” a press statement by the FSC said.

The office of the Texas Attorney General said it would appeal the decision.

The Office of the Attorney General will move to stay the injunction and will appeal this decision, Ars quoted Paige Wiley, communications director at the Texas Office of the Attorney General, as saying.

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