How Do The New Age Verification Laws Affect Porn Sites?

Are you interested in getting into the adult entertainment industry? Or maybe you already are. In that case, you may have heard that since 2023 there has been a growing concern for the new age verification legislation that has been rolling out throughout the US (with currently 18 states proposing stricter rules surrounding age verification and even demanding porn sites add health warnings to their content.) 

As these new proposals roll out throughout the US and discussions start for new legislation in countries like the UK, Canada, and Australia, many worry that these new, stricter regulations could impact people’s privacy and make it hard for porn sites to thrive. But what are the new age verification rules in 2024? And how can they affect your porn site? 

To answer these questions, Adult Site Broker has broken down the latest age verification proposals and what they could mean for porn sites around the world. 

What Are Age Verification Laws? 

Age verification legislation refers to laws and regulations that require individuals to prove their age before accessing certain products, services, or content. These laws supposedly protect minors from potentially harmful material or products and ensure that they are not exposed to inappropriate content. 

When it comes to porn and adult content, age verification protocols are nothing new, such as the need for OnlyFans models and pornstars to show government ID as part of their verification process. Many porn sites, tube sites, and live cam sites have been implementing age verification checks for years, requiring users to enter their date of birth before entering the site or at least agreeing they are over 18 years of age.

However, since 2023, many states in the US as well as throughout Europe and even in Australia, have been discussing more stringent age verification processes to be required for people to access porn sites. As the owner of a porn website, understanding the current age verification laws in the countries you operate in is crucial. So what are the new age verification laws for porn sites?  

What are the Latest Age Verification Laws? 

USA

Our previous article discussed how states like California and Louisiana created new age verification legislation in 2023. Since then, states like Texas, Arkansas, Utah, and Nebraska have adopted age verification legislation. Texas, in particular, has implemented one of the strictest legislations with the Texas House Bill HB1181, not only requiring that porn sites ask users to upload their government ID before they can access the site but also would require sites to display multiple health warnings about what the consumptions of porn can lead to addiction, mental health concerns and even stunt brain development.  The warnings have been since struck down in court, but the law has so far stood.

UK 

As part of their digital safety legislation under the Online Safety Bill, the UK proposed in 2023 to create more stringent legislation surrounding protecting minors from accessing adult content, including porn. The new proposals would require sites to ask users to verify their age via credit card checks, government-issued ID checks, and even scanning faces to verify age. 

EU

As part of their new Digital Services Act, Pornhub, Xvideos, and Stripchat would be required to have age verification protocols, including uploading their ID and facial age verification because they receive over 45 million users a month. This legislation also extends to sites like Amazon and even TikTok and seems to have rolled out to focus on the biggest online platforms instead of making all porn sites have to adopt the new legislation. 

Canada

Bill S-210 (the Protecting Young Persons from Exposure to Pornography Act) is a Senate private members’ bill that would require age verification for users accessing sexually explicit content and impose unspecified penalties for noncompliance. The usual options for verification are listed in the table: digital identity, face biometrics, and age estimation.

Australia 

Although their Government agreed last year mandatory age verification is not yet a thing in Australia, they have recently opted for a trial period to test age verification within the country. This has been done as part of a program to supposedly combat gender-based violence against women in the country. 

What Do The New Age Verification Laws Require from Porn Sites?

So what do these new age verification laws require from porn sites? Currently, the majority of proposals focus on the requirement for users trying to access porn sites to have to either prove their age via uploading a picture of their Government ID (such as a passport or driving license) or allow access to their webcam and computer to complete a facial age estimation using AI.

What Has Been The Response to the New Age Verification Legislation Surrounding Porn Sites? 

Many worry that the current legislation being rolled out is by conservative anti-porn lobbyists, who are looking to push their agenda and curb free speech in the form of sexual expression (you can learn more on this via our CEO Bruce’s latest project, the War on Porn). 

This has caused widespread criticism of the new age verification legislation from users, who see the need for a government ID and even facial age estimation as a direct concern for privacy and overly complicated without tackling the real problems surrounding the industries and minors consuming porn. As well as this, leading porn sites, porn stars, and activists within the adult industry have spoken out against the new legislation and taken out temporary injunctions against the bill itself, stunting many from going into effect and are trying to get the legislation overturned within their states stating concerns for discrimination and privacy. 

In California, Alison Boden, the Executive Director of the Free Speech Coalition, has testified before the California Assembly against their age verification law, stating that while they understand the need to protect children, the current legislation and measures proposed are making the process complicated and invasive.

Our podcast, Adult Site Broker Talk, has many episodes that discuss age verification, including with Alison Boden, Mike Stabile of the FSC, and Cherie DeVille.

On the other hand, the popular porn site Pornhub has actively banned access to their content for users who have an IP address in certain US states, including Texas and Virginia in the US instead of complying with their new age verification laws, stating, “In doing so, we are complying with the law, as we always do, but hope that governments around the world will implement laws that protect the safety and security of users.”

How Can I Make Sure My Porn Site Upholds Age Verification Legislation? 

As a porn site owner that is looking to operate in the US, Europe, Australia, and even Canada, understanding the current discussions about potential new age verification legislation in these countries is essential. Like with complying with the legal requirements surrounding content, copyright, and even paying tax, if you are seen not complying with the legislation on age verification, you can find yourself being fined, having your website blocked, or even facing legal action, including jail in some states. 

If you are worried about your porn site, it may be worth seeking a legal council; they can offer you a legal audit of your website and business and highlight if you are complying or not with national and international legislation so that you can make the internal changes needed to do so with the added benefit of saving you and your porn website from costly penalties, litigation and ensure that your business can continue

Conclusion 

To wrap up, new age verification legislation is becoming increasingly popular, not just in the US but throughout the world. This is leading to porn sites needing to adopt new age verification measures within their site to ensure that minors are not able to access their adult content.

Overall, recognizing that new age verification legislation is coming for you as a porn site owner now allows you to stay up to date on the latest conversations around the new legislation, ensure your age verification protocols are in line with the current laws, and, if you are still concerned, conduct a legal audit to make sure you are following the current legislation. 

Read more from Adult Site Broker here: 

Online Age Verification Laws? 

What Types Of Documents Are Required When Brokering An Adult Website

Are Templates For Adult Websites Worth It?

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