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Texas law paused. Age verification for porn sites put on hold

Texas law paused. Age verification for porn sites put on hold
 

An age-verification law in the U.S. state of Texas can’t be enforced against porn sites as intended while arguments about its constitutionality are heard in court.

A preliminary junction has been placed on the gating law because it was found to violate the First Amendment of the Constitution. It is not clear what the next step in this case will be.

The contentious regulation, HB 1181, was supposed to be law as of September 1. Its stated goal is to prevent children under the age of 18 years from accessing adult content online.

Anyone found to break the law would face daily fines of up to $10,000 of a violation. Fines can be up to an additional $250,000 if a child gets past the gate.

Opponents, which, of course, includes the online porn industry, say the agenda and impact is larger.

To comply with this and other similar laws, publishers have to deploy age verification software and handle ID document checks in a way that does not let that information get out. Their costs and liability increase under the legislation.

Consumers of pornography do not want to go to the trouble of proving their age and identity to view content that is protected under the U.S. Constitution. Some are worried about future government interference and reprisals as well as their biometric data being stolen and sold.

The injunction (No. 1:23-cv-917), issued by a judge for the U.S. District Court in Austin, rejected arguments pushing for enaction because, “There are viable and constitutional means to achieve Texas’s goal.”

While the state has made it its goal to protect children, in this case, from seeing content that might harm them, the judge said, it cannot do so at the cost of violating the First Amendment.

It’s not just porn that has some in the U.S. worried about vices. Age verification software is getting a good look, for instance, to control alcohol consumption.

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