PornHub blocks access for everyone in Texas

A phone with the PornHub logo being held in front of a blue background

If you live in Texas and want to access adult content, you may need to find a new provider. PornHub has blocked access to people in the state after a court upheld a law which requires users to verify their age.

House Bill 1181 was passed by lawmakers in 2023 and requires adult websites to use “reasonable age verification methods”, such as government ID, to ensure users who are accessing explicit content are aged 18 or older. 

The legislation was previously halted before it could go into effect after adult entertainment companies, including PornHub, and SpiceVids, filed a lawsuit arguing it violated First Amendment rights. 

However, last week an appeals court upheld the age verification portion of the bill by citing a Supreme Court decision from 1968 which outlawed the sale of “obscene materials” to minors. 

In response, PornHub has outright blocked access to its website to people with Texas IP addresses.  

Back in December, PornHub released its annual insights into the world’s porn habits – including the biggest fantasies by US state – and they certainly made for *interesting* reading. 

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What does the Pornhub’s message to people in Texas say?

Texas user trying to access Pornhub are currently being met with a large message which states that the legislation impinges “on the rights of adults to access protected speech” and “it fails strict scrutiny by employing the least effective and yet also most restrictive means of accomplishing Texas’ stated purpose of allegedly protecting minors”. 

The statement goes onto say that similar bills in other states have “failed to protect minors” as it drives people away from websites with more robust safety guidelines to those without the same protections. 

“The Texas law for age verification is ineffective, haphazard, and dangerous,” the statement reads. 

“Not only will it not actually protect children, but it will also inevitably reduce content creators’ ability to post and distribute legal adult content and directly impact their ability to share the artistic messages they want to convey with it.”

People are using VPNs to access Pornhub in Texas

As a result of this move, there has been a huge increase in Google searches for virtual private networking (VPN) software in Texas. 

CNN has reported there was a four-fold rise in searches in Texas following PornHub’s announcement. 

“The apparent spike in VPN searches in Texas shows that these types of age verification laws aren’t just unconstitutional, they’re also silly and ineffective,” Evan Greer, director of  digital rights advocacy group Fight for the Future told the publication. 

“Just like millions of people in countries like China, Russia and Turkey evade their government’s draconian online censorship regimes using simple tools like VPNs, now we see Texans doing the same to get around their own state government’s invasive rules.”

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