Pornhub Blocks Access in Arkansas Before Vague 'Age Verification' Law Goes Into Effect

Pornhub Blocks Access in Arkansas Before Vague 'Age Verification' Law Goes Into Effect

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Pornhub has disabled access to its site in Arkansas in anticipation of a punitive new “age verification” law promoted by religious conservatives, set to take effect Tuesday.

As XBIZ reported, Pornhub was previously forced to make the same decision in Utah, Virginia and Mississippi.

Earlier this month, Terry Schilling — the leader of the American Principles Project, a well-funded, anti-porn conservative lobby — took credit for the age verification laws passed in recent months by seven states, and admitted they were experiments so that the next Republican U.S. attorney general can prosecute anyone uploading adult content that could be seen by a minor.

On Friday, Pornhub issued the following statement explaining its decision for those attempting to reach its site from Arkansas:

As you may know, your elected officials in Arkansas 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 Arkansas.

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.

Act 612 (Senate Bill 66) was sponsored by Republican Arkansas State Senators Tyler Dees (District 35) and Mindy McAlindon (District 10) and is also known as the "Protection of Minors from Distribution of Harmful Materials Act."

The Arkansas law asserts that “pornography is creating a public health crisis and is a corroding influence on minors.”

According to a local ABC affiliate, the state law also makes controversial claims such as “pornography may impact brain development and function, contribute to emotional and medical illnesses, shape deviant sexual arousal and promote problematic or harmful sexual behaviors and addiction.”

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