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Pornhub Blocks Access in States Including Arkansas and Virginia in Response to Age Verification Laws

In a sweeping response to new age verification laws in various states, Pornhub has blocked access to its adult content in Arkansas, Virginia, and other locations, igniting a debate over online privacy, child safety, and governmental regulation. The pornography company bizarrely argues that asking users to prove they are at least 18 years old “will put children and your privacy at risk.”

The Verge reports that Pornhub, operated by internet pornography giant MindGeek, has taken a firm stance against new age verification laws in several states, including Arkansas and Virginia, by blocking all users in those locations from accessing its site. These laws require pornographic websites to verify that users are at least 18 years old by confirming their age with identifying documents.

In Arkansas, the law known as SB 66 went into effect this week, leading to Pornhub’s immediate response. The company argued that the law, intended to protect children, could actually put them and users’ privacy at risk. “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,” MindGeek wrote in a message replacing the site’s front page for affected users.

Virginia’s law, which took effect on July 1, has also drawn criticism from Pornhub. The company expressed its concern for user safety but disagreed with the method of age verification. “The safety of our users is one of our biggest concerns,” Pornhub said in a statement, according to a report by WRIC-TV. “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.” The company further added, “Until a real solution is offered, we have made the difficult decision to completely disable access to our website in Virginia.”

These laws have sparked a wave of similar legislation across the United States. Louisiana was the first state to implement such a law, inspiring over a dozen other states to introduce similar bills. Six states have approved these measures, and MindGeek has responded by blocking access to its sites from states where the laws are in effect.

The governor’s office in Virginia has expressed commitment to the new law, with a spokeswoman for Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) stating, “The governor remains committed to protecting Virginia’s children from dangerous material on the internet.”

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