Pornhub no longer available to Texas residents without VPN

As of Thursday night, people of Texas now see a detailed message explaining Pornhub’s opposition to the state’s age verification laws when they try to access the website.

Access to any of the websites owned by Aylo – Pornhub, YouPorn, and Brazzers – was disabled after the state of Texas enacted a previously blocked age verification law.

It requires users to upload photos of their government IDs – or to use a third-party verification service – before entering any pornographic website. The law also demands porn sites display health warnings about porn allegedly impairing human brain development.

Since Pornhub remained active in Texas after a US District Judge ruled that enforcement could harm free speech protections, the state sued Aylo in February. Finally, the US Court of Appeals said last week that Texas can enforce the law.

However, Pornhub decided to better disable the website in the state rather than adhere to the new requirements. Not for the first time, too – last year, Pornhub blocked access to the site in Virginia, Arkansas, Utah, and Mississippi, and in North Carolina and Montana in January.

All these states have taken action in a bid to prevent children from accessing pornography over the past couple of years, although that has sparked disputes over privacy and free speech.

Aylo and free speech advocates say that the age verification bills infringe on the First Amendment and privacy rights of adult customers. Aylo repeated its message of disagreement on Thursday.

“While safety and compliance are at the forefront of our mission, providing identification every time you want to visit an adult platform is not an effective solution for protecting users online, and in fact, will put minors and your privacy at risk,” the messages to users in Texas said.

PornHub is no longer accessible in Texas. Image by Cybernews.

Organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) have also long opposed age checks on porn websites because they threaten data security and privacy.

“Age verification systems are surveillance systems. Mandatory age verification, and with it, mandatory identity verification, is the wrong approach to protecting young people online. It would force websites to require visitors to prove their age by submitting information such as government-issued identification,” EFF said this week.

“This scheme would lead us further towards an internet where our private data is collected and sold by default. The tens of millions of Americans who do not have government-issued identification may lose access to much of the internet. And anonymous access to the web could cease to exist.”

On its blog, Pornhub stressed that age verification “is a good thing if done correctly” but this is not the case now because the laws allegedly not only fail at protecting minors but introduce further harm by displacing traffic to sites with few or zero Trust and Safety measures.

According to Pornhub, this is what happened in Louisiana at the start of 2023. The website complied with age verification via the state-run LA Wallet app which connects to a Louisiana resident’s ID.

“Consequently, traffic to Pornhub dropped by approximately 80% in Louisiana, but we know that people didn’t stop consuming porn overnight because of this new law. They just very easily moved to pirate, illegal, or other non-compliant sites that don’t ask visitors to verify their age,” said Pornhub.

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