Jan 18, 2024 - News

Ohio bill would require age verification for internet porn

A phone displaying a "no one under 18" symbol in front of a PornHub logo

Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images

Ohio lawmakers have introduced a bill that would require age verification to watch pornographic material online.

Why it matters: The bipartisan bill, backed by Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and introduced by Columbus-area state Sens. Stephanie Kunze (R-Dublin) and Bill DeMora (D-Columbus), is the latest statehouse effort to shield children from the internet's most explicit content.

What they're saying: "This is applying the same rules for the digital world that we already have in the physical world," Husted told the Ohio Capital Journal.

  • "It is illegal in the physical world to market and sell adult products to kids and teenagers."

Details: The bill would require a third-party service to independently verify the age of those visiting pornographic websites.

The other side: Though the third party would not be allowed to retain personal information, opponents say it could jeopardize the safety and security of users.

  • Aylo, the parent company of popular porn site PornHub, said in a statement that in other states where versions of this law have passed, users migrate to "darker corners" of the internet.
  • "Unless properly enforced, users will simply access non-compliant sites or find other methods of evading these laws," Aylo said.

The big picture: In Louisiana, where legislators passed a law requiring IDs to visit pornographic sites, PornHub's traffic fell by 80%.

Meanwhile, another law targeting internet safety for minors — the "Social Media Parental Consent Act" — was prevented from going into effect Monday.

  • It would have compelled some social media sites to ask for a parent's permission before creating accounts for children under 16.
  • But a judge suspended implementation pending a lawsuit by NetChoice, a social media company trade association.
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