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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: 2) by SomeGuy on Thursday February 16 2023, @07:51PM (17 children)

    by SomeGuy (5632) on Thursday February 16 2023, @07:51PM (#1292051)

    Just saying, I miss the old Usenet newsgroups. These days everything has to be totally locked down and everyone spoon fed content from your favorite advertiser.

    I hate this planet.

    Starting Score:    1  point
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   2  
  • (Score: 3, Funny) by pTamok on Thursday February 16 2023, @08:49PM (13 children)

    by pTamok (3042) on Thursday February 16 2023, @08:49PM (#1292055)

    ‹deadpan›Well Elon is doing his best to give you the option of moving to another planet.‹/deadpan›

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by JoeMerchant on Thursday February 16 2023, @08:59PM (12 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday February 16 2023, @08:59PM (#1292058)

      I suggest a brief review of the exploits of Pirate Gregor McGregor, a Scottish soldier, adventurer, and confidence trickster who attempted from 1821 to 1837 to draw British and French investors and settlers to "Poyais", a fictional Central American territory that he claimed to rule as "Cazique".

      --
      Україна досі не є частиною Росії Слава Україні🌻 https://www.pravda.com.ua/eng/news/2023/06/24/7408365/
      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday February 17 2023, @04:53AM (8 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 17 2023, @04:53AM (#1292123) Journal
        Sounds like the Pirate had quite the rocketry program! At least with Musk, he has flown vehicles and we know those destinations exist.
        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday February 17 2023, @12:28PM (7 children)

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday February 17 2023, @12:28PM (#1292152)

          The pirate had trans Atlantic ship passage, more accessible to investors than any Mars rocket.

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          Україна досі не є частиною Росії Слава Україні🌻 https://www.pravda.com.ua/eng/news/2023/06/24/7408365/
          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday February 17 2023, @06:34PM (6 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 17 2023, @06:34PM (#1292227) Journal
            Investors wouldn't be using that trans-Atlantic ship passage either.
            • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday February 17 2023, @06:39PM (5 children)

              by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday February 17 2023, @06:39PM (#1292229)

              Exactly my point.

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              Україна досі не є частиною Росії Слава Україні🌻 https://www.pravda.com.ua/eng/news/2023/06/24/7408365/
              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday February 17 2023, @06:47PM (4 children)

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 17 2023, @06:47PM (#1292234) Journal
                And exactly my point. Sounds like we'll need to use reason at some point. Hope you're ready!
                • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday February 17 2023, @07:44PM (3 children)

                  by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday February 17 2023, @07:44PM (#1292255)

                  Just because I'm bored:

                  I was responding the the deadpan comment: Musk is tryin' to get you a place on Mars.

                  MacGregor was tryin' just as realistically to get those investors a place in Central America. In the 1830s, it was more feasible to carve out a new colony in Central America for Europeans than it is to carve out any kind of permanent human habitat on Mars today. The ships are more capable, the terrain is less hostile, even the legal battles are easier more affordable and realistically feasible.

                  Some investors in the 1830s actually could have traveled to the supposed site of the colony.

                  Mars? Remains to be seen whether anybody with enough money to go today will still be alive when it's possible for them to take the trip.

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                  Україна досі не є частиною Росії Слава Україні🌻 https://www.pravda.com.ua/eng/news/2023/06/24/7408365/
                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday February 18 2023, @02:12PM (2 children)

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 18 2023, @02:12PM (#1292369) Journal

                    I was responding the the deadpan comment: Musk is tryin' to get you a place on Mars.

                    MacGregor was tryin' just as realistically to get those investors a place in Central America. In the 1830s, it was more feasible to carve out a new colony in Central America for Europeans than it is to carve out any kind of permanent human habitat on Mars today. The ships are more capable, the terrain is less hostile, even the legal battles are easier more affordable and realistically feasible.

                    I disagree, of course. MacGregor's thing was wholly fraudulent. Meanwhile SpaceX has knocked out the biggest economic obstacle between Earth and Mars - greatly dropping the price of putting things in orbit. If the Superheavy can come close to SpaceX's claimed costs, then that in turn will drop the price even more (possibly to the level where I thought a space elevator would operate at).

                    Second, where has Musk attempted to con us out of money for a Martian colony? That talk might have boosted excitement for SpaceX, but nobody has been asked, much less paid for this stuff.

                    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Saturday February 18 2023, @03:29PM (1 child)

                      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday February 18 2023, @03:29PM (#1292379)

                      >MacGregor's thing was wholly fraudulent.

                      That is certainly how history painted it, decades after the fact.

                      How will Musk's Mars plans look in 2050?

                      >greatly dropping the price of putting things in orbit.

                      Call me when that is a sustained operation, instead of a prototype ship and "claims." Again, in 1820 MacGregors plans were at least as feasible as Musk's Mars is in 2022.

                      >where has Musk attempted to con us out of money for a Martian colony?

                      Again, it's early days. MacGregor was a charismatic businessman in his day, otherwise he wouldn't have risen to the level that he did. Check the SpaceX books in 2030 and see how many of your tax dollars have subsidized his dreamscape, directly, through tax breaks, sweetheart deals on "NASA surplus capacity" and "development incentives" for various SpaceX endeavors.

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                      Україна досі не є частиною Росії Слава Україні🌻 https://www.pravda.com.ua/eng/news/2023/06/24/7408365/
                      • (Score: 1, Disagree) by khallow on Saturday February 18 2023, @06:38PM

                        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 18 2023, @06:38PM (#1292409) Journal

                        >where has Musk attempted to con us out of money for a Martian colony?

                        Again, it's early days.

                        In other words, you're precriming. "Early days" means Musk hasn't so attempted. The rest of your post is an utter waste of time as a result.

                        That is certainly how history painted it, decades after the fact.

                        And sounds like the painting is wholly correct, right?

      • (Score: 1) by anubi on Friday February 17 2023, @06:35AM (2 children)

        by anubi (2828) on Friday February 17 2023, @06:35AM (#1292132) Journal

        Thanks for that.

        It sent me off on some rather unusual insights on human folly and gullibility.

        --
        "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday February 17 2023, @12:30PM (1 child)

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday February 17 2023, @12:30PM (#1292153)

          I really like the bit where he conquered a massive fort with a dozen or so men by spreading rumors at a nearby pub that he had an army of thousands...

          --
          Україна досі не є частиною Росії Слава Україні🌻 https://www.pravda.com.ua/eng/news/2023/06/24/7408365/
          • (Score: 1) by anubi on Saturday February 18 2023, @06:33AM

            by anubi (2828) on Saturday February 18 2023, @06:33AM (#1292336) Journal

            Yeh...seems our almost universal predisposition of compassion and trust, which serves us very well in most human interactions, also renders us quite gullible to those who don't have ethical or morals to get in the way.

            --
            "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by owl on Thursday February 16 2023, @11:15PM (2 children)

    by owl (15206) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 16 2023, @11:15PM (#1292086)

    I miss the old Usenet newsgroups.

    Usenet still exists, and the newsgroups are still there.

    The problem is getting enough people to exit their walled gardens of facebook/tiktok/etc. and return to Usenet.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 17 2023, @02:01AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 17 2023, @02:01AM (#1292102)

      > The problem is getting enough people ...

      It's been awhile since I looked and, at that time, the problem was massive spam in the USENET newsgroups that I used to enjoy so much. Any idea if that has been tamed or if the spammers gave up? Maybe I'll look again, to see for myself.

      rec.bicycles.tech was one favorite, right up until the time that Google took over the newsgroups (when was that??)

      • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Friday February 17 2023, @04:21AM

        by Reziac (2489) on Friday February 17 2023, @04:21AM (#1292118) Homepage

        I dunno, but last time I looked in on my old newsgroups, an argument was still going that was at least 15 years old, and had pretty much run out all normal traffic.

        And who can forget "The Longest Thread in the World" ...

        --
        And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.