What Are Online Age Verification Laws?

The number of laws requiring age verification has significantly increased in the US and other nations, posing a serious threat to the online adult entertainment sector. Some people think that the recent wave of new legislation may endanger much more than just a consumer’s ability to view online pornography. Others, however, predict a full-scale censorship drive supported by political and religious organizations that want to deprive adult entertainment enterprises of their regulated and legal statuses. Adult Business Consulting explores some of the current problems with age verification in this blog article.

Age verification: What is it?

Age verification is a rather straightforward process. When someone tries to access or use information or services that have age limitations, age verification is the method used to verify that person’s age. To prevent minors from accessing age-restricted content or services, such alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, or adult content, age verification is frequently utilized. Several techniques can be used throughout the verification process, including asking the user for their date of birth, checking the information on their government-issued identification and credit card, and using geolocation to authenticate their location. To comply with legal requirements and safeguard minors from objectionable content or services, age verification is crucial.

Age Verification Software

Age verification software was created to determine an individual’s age when trying to access specific internet material or services. This is done to prevent children from having access to the same things that we previously discussed. Although age verification software comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, it typically uses different methods to verify the age of web users.

Porn and Age Verification Software

Age verification software has a fascinating history in the world of adult entertainment online. More businesses are more than glad to implement age-verification systems to stop children from accessing content that is intended for adults only. The disconnect occurs when governments demand adult businesses to institute age verification, but elected officials fail to take the industry’s perspective into account. For instance, this is what happened in the American state of Louisiana when politicians there decided to enact legislation requiring age verification on websites that offer content that is more than one-third “adult” and “pornographic.” The law was adopted by the social-conservative administration during the 2022 legislative session, and it came into effect on January 1, 2023, much to the confusion and annoyance of users.

Legally Mandating Age Verification Software Is Challenging

Early in February, YNOT.com contributor Michael McGrady revealed that the Louisiana senator responsible for this nation’s age verification bill is a well-known anti-porn crusader and a purported “therapist” for those who battle “porn addiction.” Mainstream psychiatry does not acknowledge the concept of “porn addiction” as a mental health diagnosis and considers it to be pseudoscience. Do you see the problem? In this context, age verification functions as an anti-pornographic measure to censor and ultimately prohibit adult content that is otherwise protected by the First Amendment and other free expression.

The Louisiana Age Verification Law Explained

The requirement of official identification via a state-sponsored digital wallet service is another issue with the bill. In Louisiana, for example, anyone wanting to visit a website like Pornhub is required to upload a copy of their official identification to a program called LA Wallet. LA Wallet does not offer software for age verification. It’s a digital wallet initiative that enables Louisianans to use a digital copy of their ID card or driver’s license.

These services are available in several U.S. states, including Colorado. However, to access Pornhub, you must first verify your identity via the LA Wallet site, and only if you are 18 years of age or older (the legal viewing age for pornography) will access be permitted. However, Louisianans are not the only ones who must abide by this rule. Everyone is subject to the age verification law, including tourists and guests from other states in the union or from abroad. 

A Theoretical Case Study

Let’s look at an illustration of how this functions. Imagine a married couple traveling to New Orleans for Mardi Gras (French for “Fat Tuesday”), the southern region’s premier celebration. After having too much to drink, the couple decides to head back to their hotel for a sex date. Every time they have sex, they both watch porn in New Hampshire, where they both live. Why is this evening any different?

With their laptop in hand, the pair visits Pornhub.com. However, the site is blocked because Louisiana law now demands that one of the two New Hampshire tourists prove their age by uploading a photo of their driver’s license to a dubious-looking verification service, which asserts that it has the power to prevent their viewing despite consent and the age.

Does this imply that the pair will put up with it so they can view porn on their preferred website? In all honesty, it’s a toss-up. But it is unimportant. There is more going on here than just a change in consumer behavior.

Digital Privacy Concerns

The gathering of private information is another problem. Privacy laws that call for gathering sensitive data, such credit card numbers or government identification cards, are typically written to demand risk reduction. As a result, businesses and age verification services are only required to gather the data necessary for them to function. The Louisiana age verification law provides very little in the way of data assurance and protection, making it much more probable that data from a firm like LA Wallet undertaking age verification operations will be compromised. Additionally, porn-watching individuals, civil libertarians, and owners of adult websites all find having to inform your government that you want to see porn repulsive.

Other Age Verification Bills to Watch

These are only a handful of the issues raised by regulations requiring age verification. But the industry’s worry is still very much a reality. These state legislation measures have been closely monitored by the Free Speech Coalition, a 501(c)6 trade group that represents the internet adult entertainment sector.

According to Mike Stabile, the coalition’s director of public affairs, lawmakers in 18 states have proposed several laws that call for age verification procedures. The most recent law, AB-1505 in California, would make it possible to sue websites with adult content if a child can access them. 

Adult Business Consulting hopes you’ve enjoyed this post. If you have any questions, please get in touch with us.

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