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posted by janrinok on Thursday February 16 2023, @07:03PM   Printer-friendly

Opponents say laws preventing underage porn access are vague, pose privacy risks:

After decades of America fretting over minors potentially being overexposed to pornography online, several states are suddenly moving fast in 2023 to attempt to keep kids off porn sites by passing laws requiring age verification.

Last month, Louisiana became the first state to require an ID from residents to access pornography online. Since then, seven states have rushed to follow in Louisiana's footsteps. According to a tracker from Free Speech Coalition, Florida, Kansas, South Dakota, and West Virginia introduced similar laws, and laws in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Virginia are seemingly closest to passing. If passed, some of these laws could be enforced promptly, while some bills in states like Florida and Mississippi specify that they wouldn't take effect until July.

But not every state agrees that rushing to require age verification is the best solution. Today, a South Dakota committee voted to defer voting on its age verification bill until the last day of the legislative session. The bill's sponsor, Republican Jessica Castleberry, seemingly failed to persuade the committee of the urgency of passing the law, saying at the hearing that "this is not your daddy's Playboy. Extreme, degrading, and violent pornography is only one click away from our children." She told Ars that the bill was not passed because some state lawmakers were too "easily swayed by powerful lobbyists."

"It's a travesty that unfettered access to pornography by minors online will continue in South Dakota because of lobbyists protecting the interests of their clients, versus legislators who should be protecting our children," Castleberry told Ars. "The time to pass this bill was in the mid-1990s."

Lobbyists opposing the bill at the hearing represented telecommunications and newspaper associations. Although the South Dakota bill, like the Louisiana law, exempted news organizations, one lobbyist, Justin Smith, an attorney for the South Dakota Newspaper Association, argued that the law was too vague in how it defined harmful content and how it defined which commercial entities could be subjected to liabilities.

"We just have to be careful before we put things like this into law with all of these open-ended questions that put our South Dakota businesses at risk," Smith said at the hearing. "We would ask you to defeat the bill in its current form."

These laws work by requiring age verification of all users, imposing damages on commercial entities found to be neglecting required age verification and distributing content to minors online that has been deemed to be inappropriate. The laws target online destinations where more than a third of the content is considered harmful to minors. Opponents in South Dakota anticipated that states that pass these laws, as Louisiana has, will struggle to "regulate the entire Internet." In Arkansas, violating content includes "actual, simulated, or animated displays" of body parts like nipples or genitals, touching or fondling of such body parts, as well as sexual acts like "intercourse, masturbation, sodomy, bestiality, oral copulation, flagellation, excretory functions," or other sex acts deemed to have no "literary, artistic, political, or scientific value to minors."

When Louisiana's law took effect last month, Ars verified how major porn sites like Pornhub quickly complied. It seems likely that if new laws are passed in additional states, popular sites will be prepared to implement additional controls to block regional access to minors.


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16 2023, @07:44PM (17 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16 2023, @07:44PM (#1292050)

    Instead of "Seven States Push to Require ID for Watching Porn Online", the title should read "Seven States to see an uptick in VPN usage".

    I thought those seven states were ruled by the "get tha gubment off mah lawn, I do what I want and fuck everything else" party...? The american taliban strikes again!

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by DeathMonkey on Thursday February 16 2023, @08:15PM (16 children)

    by DeathMonkey (1380) on Thursday February 16 2023, @08:15PM (#1292053) Journal

    Unwilling to get a vaccine because of imaginary government tracking chips but willing to register all their internet traffic with that same government in order to watch porn. God Bless America!!

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by XivLacuna on Thursday February 16 2023, @08:44PM (12 children)

      by XivLacuna (6346) on Thursday February 16 2023, @08:44PM (#1292054)

      Unwilling to get a vaccine because it skipped safety testing, was rushed by Orange Man Bad, and pretty much impossible to ever work because of how Corona viruses frequently mutate. 5G tracking chip rumors is just hogwash spread by Branch Covidians to belittle the heretics who don't revere Saint Fauci.

      Freedom of speech on the internet was destroyed by the deplatforming of Andrew Anglin's Daily Stormer over making jokes about Heather Heyer's death at Charlottesville. The Daily Stormer is still on the internet but has greatly lost reach through the deplatforming efforts. If freedom of speech on the internet no longer exists, we can force local ISPs and even domain registrars to either block the DNS or revoke the domain of porn sites that do not comply with this regulation.

      They won't be able to get rid of pornography but they will be able to practically force it on to TOR where people will struggle to download their porn JPEGs. The reach of porn will be greatly diminished.

      All of these porn sites already have analytics and know who you are, what your preferences are, and are willing to sell it to anyone willing to pay.

      • (Score: 5, Informative) by NotSanguine on Thursday February 16 2023, @09:18PM (8 children)

        by NotSanguine (285) <{NotSanguine} {at} {SoylentNews.Org}> on Thursday February 16 2023, @09:18PM (#1292061) Homepage Journal

        The Daily Stormer is still on the internet but has greatly lost reach through the deplatforming efforts.

        We're all (including the scumbags you mention) entitled to free speech. And since those particular pieces of shit are still around, their free speech rights are not being infringed.

        But we're (all of us, not just Nazis) not entitled to an audience. Or a metaphorical megaphone.

        Nor are businesses required to do business with you unless you're a protected class. AFAIK, being a Nazi hatemonger isn't a protected class.

        Forcing people and (non-government) organizations to host/enable speech with which they disagree/and or don't wish to host, is an infringement of their free speech and free association rights.

        relevant XKCD: https://xkcd.com/1357/ [xkcd.com]

        --
        No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Thursday February 16 2023, @09:55PM (7 children)

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 16 2023, @09:55PM (#1292070) Journal

          The problem with your analysis? Today, the proverbial "town square" is the internet. You're failing to understand that Big Tech has become the gate keeper into the town square.

          Back in the old day, no one could keep you out of the town square, or prevent you stepping up on your soap box to preach 'The One True Way', or whatever the hell.

          You're right, that you were never entitled to an audience. You could stand on your soapbox all day long, and if your message sucked, no one cared, or they outright disliked you, they could go to the other end of the town square. No one is entitled to an audience, that much is true. But that is up to the audience to decide.

          The gatekeepers should be tarred and feathered, and run out of town. Fuck all gatekeepers.

          • (Score: 5, Touché) by DeathMonkey on Thursday February 16 2023, @10:31PM (6 children)

            by DeathMonkey (1380) on Thursday February 16 2023, @10:31PM (#1292076) Journal

            The gatekeepers should be tarred and feathered, and run out of town. Fuck all gatekeepers.

            So you'll be voting against the Republicans that installed this ID-verifying internet gatekeeper in the next election?

            • (Score: 5, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16 2023, @10:47PM (2 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16 2023, @10:47PM (#1292079)

              Not to mention the gatekeepers who are telling libraries what books they can and can't carry and telling teachers what parts of history they are and aren't allowed to talk about.

              • (Score: 3, Troll) by Runaway1956 on Friday February 17 2023, @03:13AM (1 child)

                by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 17 2023, @03:13AM (#1292107) Journal

                Not to mention the gatekeepers who are telling libraries what books they can and can't carry

                Especially school libraries which allow access to elementary school children.

                telling teachers what parts of history they are and aren't allowed to talk about.

                Teachers work for the parents, after all. School districts pay teachers to teach. I would say the employers have the right to decide what the teachers will be teaching. And, of course, it would help if everyone were teaching verifiable facts in history, as opposed to - uhhh - what's it called? "Lived experience"? As if some asshole living today actually experienced the silly shit he says happened 300 years ago.

                But, maybe you're right. Feelziez before factz, right?

                • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 17 2023, @12:58PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 17 2023, @12:58PM (#1292156)

                  Especially school libraries which allow access to elementary school children.

                  Yes. Indeed. When I grew up I was actually allowed to read Hop on Pop or Charlotte's Web, but I suppose our parents grew up in times where fascists were viewed as enemies of the American way of life and not librarians. Or maybe they didn't think we were all a bunch of pussies who would be scarred by Where the Wild Things Are. Or maybe it's not any of that and it's just that kids (or at least white kids) in the South aren't as tough as kids elsewhere and need special attention?

                  But, maybe you're right. Feelziez before factz, right?

                  No, if that were true, they'd actually be allowed to talk about black people and slavery without making the snowflake MAGAs feel bad and call their special "my feelings have been hurt" [npr.org] governor hotlines. These bills [abc7news.com] are literally to keeps white kids from "feeling discomfort." It is amazing. A big red hat these days seems to be a great ad for "only tell me what I want to hear because I am a huge snowflake." It is rather sickening that these people who proudly wrap themselves in a flag and show off their "patriotism" are literally shitting on the fundamental values and ideals of America because they might get their feelings hurt. I think they are the ones who are in desperate need to learn American history before shitting any further on the foundation of this country.

                  I would say the employers have the right to decide what the teachers will be teaching.

                  You going to go all the way to the end of that "think of the children" limb and have it cover colleges too [rollingstone.com]? Talk about "thought police" and "cancel culture."

                  But this is all water under the bridge. There are much more important things to address. I heard there might be a transgender kid somewhere, so we better mobilize a whole legislative body and put the weight of the government upon that one person [fox13now.com]. Nothing says freedom from oppression like that.

            • (Score: 1) by Runaway1956 on Friday February 17 2023, @03:14AM (2 children)

              by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 17 2023, @03:14AM (#1292108) Journal

              Which of those republicans that you refer to are going to be on my ballot?

              • (Score: 3, Informative) by DeathMonkey on Friday February 17 2023, @04:09PM (1 child)

                by DeathMonkey (1380) on Friday February 17 2023, @04:09PM (#1292181) Journal

                Unfortunately, there's a pretty good change Desantis (who signed FL's law) will be on ALL our ballots soon!

                • (Score: 1) by Runaway1956 on Friday February 17 2023, @08:37PM

                  by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 17 2023, @08:37PM (#1292268) Journal

                  Welllll, now, you know what? If DeSantis is on the ballot, I'll probably vote for him. I won't vote for Trump, but I'll vote DeSantis. If Trump runs again, I'll definitely vote 3rd party, just like the last two times he ran.

                  Ok, yes, I understand. If I vote for DeSantis, I'll effectively be voting for something I don't like. But, I'm not a single issue voter. I weigh the good and the bad. DeSantis bad points don't come near equal to any Democrat's bad points. Show me a "Defund the police" candidate, and I'll vote for almost ANYONE else.

      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Tork on Thursday February 16 2023, @09:34PM

        by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 16 2023, @09:34PM (#1292064)

        Freedom of speech on the internet was destroyed by the deplatforming of Andrew Anglin's Daily Stormer over making jokes about Heather Heyer's death at Charlottesville.

        Stormfront pissed off its privately-owned provider and its services were terminated as a result. They could have terminated their relationship with for any reason, including nose-picking, because businesses have the freedom to choose their customers. No matter how you wordsmith it, it is NOT freedom of speech being infringed. You reaaaaaaaaaaally need to understand the nuance here otherwise you'll find yourself begging for big-government regulation to force companies to do business with toxic customers.

        All of these porn sites already have analytics and know who you are, what your preferences are, and are willing to sell it to anyone willing to pay.

        Assuming those sites have to check the validity of the license the government will have their constituents' fetishes transmitted to the mothership, too. Oh and some of the content being consumed is illegal. ;)


        I know there'll be a temptation to argue with what I'm talking about, but my main point here is if you really feel freedom of speech is missing from the internet then you should work towards finding a solution to specifically that and not mis-representing unrelated stuff as a freedom-of-speech issue. Here, I'll propose a solution: How about the government creates their own social media platform? Yes, I already hear the groaning... BUT: a. No advertisers. b. It actually WOULD fall under 1A should they moderate inappropriately. c. I say this theoretically, but under those circumstances other providers needed to carry the site wouldn't be under the same pressure to drop their services than they would with a private site. I do not consider this a perfect solution so I really don't want to debate about it, I just wanted to get a PRODUCTIVE conversation about solving this problem started.

        --
        🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by khallow on Friday February 17 2023, @04:50AM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 17 2023, @04:50AM (#1292121) Journal

        Unwilling to get a vaccine because it skipped safety testing

        How many millions of dead people and shitty economy is "safety testing" worth again?

        I think what's silly about the argument is that these vaccines were safety tested. The FDA just has a onerous process that's totally inappropriate for anything more complicated than saline water, much less an ongoing emergency.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by mcgrew on Saturday February 18 2023, @09:57PM

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Saturday February 18 2023, @09:57PM (#1292456) Homepage Journal

        Odd, I seem to have caught a whiff of Eau de Bot de Russi.

        Look here, dumbass, you don't have the right to force a PRIVATE NON-GOVERNMENT hosting provider to give you a platform for your garbage. Guess what? It ain't "'murica" keeping your hateful garbage off the internet. My three sites are hosted in Canada. Guess what? They don't want your hateful evil, either, and neither does anybody else in the whole damned world.

        So take your Satan worship elsewhere. Nobody likes you. Go away.

        --
        mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Thursday February 16 2023, @08:53PM (2 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday February 16 2023, @08:53PM (#1292056)

      >imaginary government tracking chips

      I knew a guy from Vietnam (North, I believe), his dad was a scientist - persecuted by the government - which is why they emigrated to the U.S. when he was young, but not so young that he hadn't received mandatory injections from the government - this back in the early 1970s - and he believed that his government, then, implanted mind control chips into the children of his country, including himself.

      The first time he said that, I thought: surely, he's pulling my leg. But it persisted, and never seemed like a joke for the whole year I knew him. I asked our coworkers who had known him 5 and 10 years, they all said: "you know, I wish he was pulling our leg with that but it really seems like he believes it, and uses it as an excuse for some of his more irrational moments." Mind you, these irrational moments were a matter of degrees, with minor ones coming up at least a couple of times an hour, but for a really big one all you had to do was disagree with any of his basically baseless postulate statements along the lines of: "Thou shalt never change a single character in the core routine source code, not even to address obvious errors."

      The thing about imaginary government chips being injected, they can be even more powerful than actual vaccines in terms of how they affect real behavior in the population and individuals.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Saturday February 18 2023, @10:05PM (1 child)

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Saturday February 18 2023, @10:05PM (#1292458) Homepage Journal

        That's a form of schizophrenia, and there may be effective treatments. The guy should seek help.

        --
        mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Saturday February 18 2023, @10:58PM

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday February 18 2023, @10:58PM (#1292466)

          I believe it had been suggested, I was mostly concerned about getting some distance.

          Years earlier I had a job applicant who included their personal website on their resume, so I took a look and there right up front was "Click here to read about my MkUltra experience." So I did. Long story short: he believes he was personally targeted by the program several years earlier and is still suffering from actions of the program personally targeting him at the time of his application (2007). His personal accounts were largely consistent with descriptions of the MkUltra program you can find on Wikipedia and many other places, not copied, they were episodes in his own life. Oh, and MkUltra is reputed to induct new targets from friends and coworkers of existing targets.

          Option A: the applicant is nuttier than a fruitcake, and we don't want him working for us.

          Option B: he's not paranoid, they really are out to get him, and as his coworkers they might come for us next, in which case we really don't want him working for us.

          I don't see any scenario where such nearly direct disclosure of his MkUltra experience would be beneficial in his chances of employment, and we were looking for logical thinkers, programmers, so no, no interview for him. Maybe if we were looking for creative writers I might have offered to meet him, clandestinely.

          --
          🌻🌻 [google.com]