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Pornhub now requires Louisiana viewers to submit government IDs before streaming its content

By Melanie Uson Published Jan 06, 2023 8:55 pm

Watching porn can no longer be done with a click of a button in Louisiana.

Pornhub viewers from the state are now required to verify their age by submitting a government ID on the site before streaming its content.

The new rule comes after a law under Article 440 was signed in June 2022 and made effective on Jan. 1 this year by Louisiana’s Democratic governor John Bel Edwards. 

The law states that whichever digital publisher that “knowingly and intentionally publishes contains a substantial portion of such material” and fails to feature the age verification process will be held liable.  

The “substantial portion” refers to 33.3% of the total material on a website. The law also specifies that content considered harmful to minors are those that display “pubic hair, anus, vulva, genitals, or nipple of the female breast.” This is in addition to “touching, caressing, or fondling of nipples, breasts, buttocks, anuses, or genitals.” 

It also includes "sexual intercourse, masturbation, sodomy, bestiality, oral copulation, flagellation, excretory functions, exhibitions, or any other sexual act" as according to the state, these materials “lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.” 

However, while this move has a good objective of protecting minros from explicit contents, experts flagged the new rule as it can be used for surveillance, cause data privacy concerns, and may hurt certain communities, such as sex workers and the LGBTQ+ community. 

Olivia Snow, a sex worker, professor, and research fellow at UCLA’s Center for Critical Internet Inquiry, told TechCrunch that this move is included in “sex panic”.  

“It’s really just further marginalizing sex workers, which I think is going to be the primary effect,” she said. “I imagine this means that there will be an increased black market of premium content that’s non-consensually disseminated.” 

Snow added that this law may further fuel the rise of homophobia. “I could totally see the state zeroing in on people consuming gay porn, or lesbian porn, and either surveilling them further or criminalizing that.”  

As per an Insider report, other available porn sites aside from Pornhub remain accessible to Louisiana viewers.