As of the first of this month, Louisiana residents will need to show state-issued proof of age before viewing anything racy online.
In June, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed the Act 440, which says any website where the content is 33.3 percent porn (how this would be calculated is unclear. Maybe it means just third base?) must have “reasonable age verification,” beyond super-swearing that you’re over 18 by clicking a box From the bill:
Any commercial entity that knowingly and intentionally publishes or distributes material harmful to minors on the internet from a website that contains a substantial portion of such material shall be held liable if the entity fails to perform reasonable age verification methods to verify the age of individuals attempting to access the material.
Residents must verify their ID using the LA Wallet App—a digital wallet for Louisiana residents. NPR reached out to the governor’s office to find out how Louisiana residents who don’t have IDs are supposed to get their rocks off, but no answer was forthcoming. So far other porn sites have yet to implement stringent ID checks, but PornHub is out ahead of the pack when it comes to Louisiana IP addresses. From Motherboard:
Other major adult sites, including XVideos and XHamster, are still accessible from Louisiana as normal. OnlyFans’ site hangs on the loading page that only displays its logo when accessed from a Louisiana IP, and eventually times out before loading the site. Pornhub, OnlyFans, XHamster, and XVideos did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
It was introduced by Representative Laurie Schegel, who recently supported legislation that banned transgender athletes from competing on girls and women’s sports teams in Louisiana. According to local news outlet WAFB, Schegel also works as a counselor who sees patients for “sex addiction” treatment.
PornHub doesn’t link accounts directly to driver’s licenses, instead using a third party to keep things safe. And anyway, the website already collects a disturbing amount of data on its users, so what’s one more data point on the pile? Not only will the state go after websites that fail to enforce an ID check, such websites will be liable for damages brought by someone who’s minor child accessed the any “harmful material.”
This entire debacle promises to end in a compromising and messy situation. Beyond the obvious threats to free speech, personal happiness and information security; Louisiana is number three in that nation for teen pregnancies, you’d think they’d actually want to support more solitary activities.
A senator from Utah proposed a similar law on a nationwide scale last year as well as attempt to establish “...a national definition of obscenity that would apply to obscene content that is transmitted via interstate or foreign communications.”
One thing’s for sure: A whole lot of teenagers are downloading VPNs in Louisiana right now.