Pornhub sues Texas over controversial adult site law

The law that requires age verification and health warnings on adult sites. Companies argue that it violates users’ constitutional rights and imposes ineffective security measures.

 Pen, Person

A consortium of adult entertainment advocacy groups, including Pornhub, is taking legal action against the state of Texas over a new law that requires adult sites to verify the ages of their users and display a health warning. The groups argue that the law, known as HB 1181, violates users’ constitutional rights by imposing weak and easily circumvented security measures. They also claim that the health warnings described in the law are controversial and factually false.

The law, signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott in June, is set to go into effect on 1 September. It mandates that users verify their age using ‘government-issued identification’ or a verified method that relies on transactional data. Additionally, adult sites must display a detailed health warning stating that pornography is ‘potentially biologically addictive and ‘proven to harm human brain development.’ However, the lawsuit argues that these claims are unproven and misleading.

The complaint filed by the advocacy groups describes the Texas age verification requirement as the ‘least effective and yet also the most restrictive means’ of protecting minors, pointing out that individuals under 18 can easily bypass the system using VPNs and proxy servers. They also argue that the law is vague and likely to deter adult users concerned about their personal information being stolen or made public. The plaintiffs contend that the law is part of a long history of failed attempts by governments to regulate and censor online free speech.

Texas is one of six states that have recently passed laws targeting pornography sites for the purpose of protecting minors. The other states include Mississippi, Arkansas, Virginia, Montana, and Utah. The effects of this new wave of legislation are already apparent, as Pornhub has blocked access for users in Arkansas due to a similar law in that state.