New age verification laws made PronHub block the site in two more states

Age verification laws prompt Aylo to block access in two more states – Montana and North Carolina

PornHub no longer accessible in Montana and North Carolina

Adult media conglomerate Aylo, which owns popular websites like PornHub, RedTube, and Brazzers, has recently restricted access to these sites for users in Montana and North Carolina. This decision comes in response to new age verification laws introduced in these states, effective from January 1st.

The laws mandate that adult websites implement stringent age verification processes for visitors from these states. If non-compliant, these companies could be held accountable for distributing material deemed harmful to minors without adequate age verification.

The Montana Bill 544[1] and North Carolina's House Bill 8 share a common theme: they allow parents to initiate civil lawsuits against companies that fail to verify the age of their users effectively. This approach to legislation has sparked considerable debate about privacy and the effectiveness of such laws in safeguarding minors.

The response from Aylo includes a video message from adult film star Cherie DeVille, who highlighted her concerns about these laws, particularly around privacy and the potential ineffectiveness of mandatory ID checks. She later states the following:[2]

The safety of our users is one of our biggest concerns. 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. Until a real solution is offered, we have made the difficult decision to completely disable access to our website in your state

The rise of dubious VPNs could lead to security risks

The enforcement of age verification laws has led to significant shifts in user behavior, primarily through an increased reliance on VPNs in affected states. There are plenty of free VPN extensions, which sometimes come from illegitimate sources – these are then used to access restricted content. Not all of them are safe, however.

For example, the widespread adoption of fake Chrome VPN extensions, downloaded over 1.5 million times,[3] illustrates the potential hazards. These extensions have been manipulated to hijack users' search results and insert affiliate links, compromising the integrity and security of their online activities.

Besides these relatively insignificant security risks, there are also plenty of malicious actors who are ready to exploit the increased demands for VPNs. Cybercriminals often distribute fake VPN applications loaded with information-stealing malware and mobile backdoors, which can be significantly more impactful on one's security.

These practices can elevate the risk of identity theft and financial fraud for users seeking to circumvent website access restrictions. Some users simply have limited ability to distinguish between legitimate and fraudulent VPN services, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation.

Additionally, the response from websites and the evolving legal framework surrounding these laws may further complicate the situation. For instance, if adult websites start to block VPN traffic to ensure compliance with state laws,[4] users may resort to even riskier methods to access blocked content.

This shift could lead to an increase in the use of dark web resources or unverified third-party sites, known for hosting unsafe content, including malware and phishing scams. Such a development not only endangers the security of individual users but also has broader implications for internet safety and the effectiveness of regulatory measures intended to protect minors.

The larger context of porn regulation

Aylo's decision to block access in Montana and North Carolina is part of a larger trend of state-level efforts to regulate online adult content. Similar laws have been passed in states like Louisiana, Utah, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Virginia, leading to similar access restrictions.

Notably, Texas' identification law, requiring additional health warnings on adult sites, is currently under judicial review. These state-level initiatives are part of a broader conversation about the regulation of online content, balancing concerns over user safety and privacy with the need to protect minors from potentially harmful content.

The recent designation of PornHub as a “Very Large Online Platform”[5] in the EU further highlights the global dimension of this issue. As more jurisdictions implement their own regulations regarding age verification, companies like Aylo face the challenge of adapting to a complex and evolving legal landscape. This situation may potentially lead users to seek content through less regulated, and potentially riskier, channels.

About the author
Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

Ugnius Kiguolis is a professional malware analyst who is also the founder and the owner of 2-Spyware. At the moment, he takes over as Editor-in-chief.

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