A new law in Utah will make it mandatory for users to verify their age before visiting adult websites.

Pornhub has shut down all users from Utah in protest to Utah's law on online verification of age, which is scheduled to take force on Wednesday, according to earlier reports by Vice. Anyone trying to connect Pornhub from Utah won't be able access any content, and will instead be presented with an announcement read by adult performer Cherie Deville, who explains why the site is shut down in Utah.

We prioritize safety and compliance in our mission, but requiring ID cards for every visit to an adult platform isn't the most effective way to protect our users. In fact, it puts children and your privacy at risk," explains Deville. "Until a viable solution is presented, we've made the tough choice to fully block access to our website in Utah

Although Utah had previously mandated pornographic websites to display warning labels however, this law goes one step further. Utah Governor Spencer Cox signed the Online Pornography Viewing Age Requirements bill (SB 287) into law in March. The new legislation mandates companies to verify the age of their users accessing adult contents by using the "digitized identification card" approved by the state. It's designed to stop minors from accessing explicit content, and is legally liable for companies for failing to verify the age of their users.

In the message it sends to its users, Pornhub suggests using a digital verification method that "identifies users by their device" instead of an official ID issued by the government. The company also advises users to reach out to their local representative to discuss an alternative method to identify themselves. In the event of a breach, Utah residents will be not able to access Pornhub or make use of a virtual private network (VPN) to get around local laws.

A similar law that aims at securing minors was enacted in Louisiana in the spring of this year and requires users to prove their age using the state's digital ID system when using pornographic websites such as Pornhub. Since Pornhub adhered to Louisiana's regulations, Utah Senator Todd Weiler believes that the site will eventually cave. "They are complying with LA's law, which is essentially the same," Weiler wrote in an email message to the local news outlet Fox 13. "So I expect they will eventually comply with Utah's as well."

While Utah's bill is designed towards protecting children, the bill has obvious privacy and security risks that could put adult's personal information at risk. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization that is a non-profit digital rights group which asserts that that online age verification must "undermine anonymity online" while noting that websites can "misuse" the identification data they're provided.

These concerns haven't stopped the number of other allegedly stringent law enforcement agencies from popping up. A different Utah law is set to require children younger than 18 to have parental permission before registering on a social media platform beginning on March 20, 2024. The law also imposes an age limit that prohibits children from accessing social networks between 10:30pm to 6:30AM. Arjabsas has come up with an online saftey law on its own, according to earlier reports by Theverge. Although it's not entirely clear what it considers a social network.

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