Spanish politicians push for age verification of adult website

age verification

Local Spanish politicians in the southern region of Andalucia are demanding anti-porn legislation to mirror current initiatives in France, Germany, Utah and even China. The group named ‘Consejo Audiovisual de Andalucía (CAA)’ organized a conference in May 2023 to address the supposed threat to minors posed by internet pornography. Tech journalist Enrique Benítez, from the influential Prensa Ibérica media conglomerate, participated and afterward published an editorial in Prensa Ibérica’s flagship newspaper El Periodico de España, advocating for local laws to follow the lead of France and the U.K. in threatening to block adult websites unless they implement age verification.

Deeming it “unfair” to expect families to monitor minors’ access to online content, Benítez proposed shifting the responsibility to online platforms. Unlike the U.S., Europe has nothing resembling Section 230 liability protections over user-generated content.

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Louisiana will fine adult websites with no age verification

The Louisiana house voted 101-1 to pass House Bill 77, which would let the state attorney general pursue civil penalties against companies that do not comply with a law that requires pornography websites to verify the age of its users.

HB 77 was introduced by local politician Laurie Schlegel (R-Matairie), who is behind Louisiana’s Act 440, the law that took effect Jan. 1 and requires age verification for any website that contains 33.3% or more pornographic material.

HB 77 calls for investigation and pursuit of actions for commercial entities that knowingly and intentionally publish or distribute material harmful to minors and that fail to perform reasonable age verification.

Republicans throughout the country are currently seeking to outlaw all adult content by overturning the 1973 “Miller Test” differentiating First Amendment-protected sexual material from illegal “obscene” material produced to appeal to “a prurient interest.”

In an amendment to this blog post 6 June 2023:

The Senate gave unanimous final passage to a bill Saturday that would allow the Louisiana attorney general to investigate and fine — up to $5,000 a day — pornographic websites that do not comply with the age verification law. For entities that “knowingly failed” to follow the law, they face an additional civil penalty of $10,000 per violation, according to language in the legislation.

The bill will now be sent to Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, who is expected to sign it into law.

Rep. Laurie Schlegel, the Republican who authored the age verification law, which went into effect at the start of this year, and the companion bill, said both pieces of legislation are intended to “protect children from the dangers of online pornography.”

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US State Virginia passes age verification law to view adult websites

Virginia lawmakers have passed a law that requires adult websites to use more stringent age verification measures to prevent access by minors. Under the bill SB1515, adult websites must implement advanced verification methods, requiring users to provide government-issued IDs, biometric scans or submit to age verification software.
The new law applies to websites where at least 33.3% of its content can be considered material harmful to minors.

In the bill, this is defined as any description or representation of nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or sadomasochistic abuse when it (i) appeals to the prurient, shameful, or morbid interest of minors, (ii) is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable material for minors, and (iii) is, when taken as a whole, lacking in serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.

The bill does not mention how the state would enforce the new law when most adult websites operate outside of the jurisdiction of Virginia and the United States. On 1 January 2023, similar bills went into effect in US states Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Utah.

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US States introducing Age Verification Bills

US States introducing Age Verification Bills

Several bills are underway in the US to limit the exposure of under 18 year olds to seeing online pornography. Here is the latest update for 4 US states:


Louisiana’s HB142, which was sponsored by local politician Laurie Schlegel, went into effect on 1st January 2023. Although it is still unclear what compliance with the law would look like for out-of-state and non-U.S.-based websites. Schlegel’s law requires age verification for any website that contains 33.3% or more pornographic material.


Two Republican state senators in Arkansas have introduced a bill requiring age verification before entering a website offering pornography. Senate Bill 66, which proposes a Protection of Minors from Distribution of Harmful Material Act, is sponsored by Sen. Tyler Dees (R-Siloam Springs) and Sen. Jim Petty (R-Van Buren). The proposed bill requires a digitized identification card to prove that anyone from Arkansas trying to enter a pornography website is over 18. The bill includes the senators’ definition of what kinds of material would constitute “pornography,” and mandates that any website with over 23.33% of its material meeting the pornography description institute age verification.


A Republican state senator in Mississippi has introduced a copycat bill patterned after the Louisiana state law that mandates age verification for websites featuring pornographic content. Sen. Nicole Boyd (R-Oxford) introduced Senate Bill 2346, which was approved by the Mississippi Senate Judiciary B Committee. SB 2346 would hold liable any commercial entity that disseminates pornographic material and doesn’t perform reasonable age verification. The Mississippi bill is heading to the State Senate floor, where it will have to be approved before 9th February 2023 to be sent to the House.


Rep. Jordan Teuscher (R) and Sen. Michael McKell introduced HB 311 and SB 152, respectively. SB 152 would require social media companies to verify the age of any Utah resident seeking to use or create an account on social media platforms. The rule would take effect 1st January 2024. Moreover, should a platform determine that a user is a minor — defined in both bills as anyone under 18 — SB 152 would then require social media companies to give parents access to their kids’ accounts.

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Age verification for adult content sites in French and German courts

age verification

Currently, courts in France and Germany have moved forward with proposed mandates to block adult sites over compliance with age verification mandates.

A Paris court will rule next month Octover 2022, on whether French media regulator Arcom “has the right to block access to international adult content sites in France unless those sites can guarantee they can prevent minors under 18 from accessing them,” Reuters reported earlier this week.

Meanwhile, in Münster, Germany, the Higher Administrative Court has dismissed complaints from high profile adult content sites seeking the reversal of a recent ban by the Düsseldorf Administrative Court.

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California Passes Age Verification Bill

The California legislature on 30 August passed a bill mandating age verification measures for any web site “likely to be accessed by children.” AB 2273, also called the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act is now waiting to be signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom (pictured above).

The legislation further mandates that websites and platforms must overhaul privacy and safety standards based on the age verification requirement.

When signed into law, the bill will require websites, including all websites containing adult content accessible in California, to determine the age of all users with a reasonable level of certainty.

AgeGO provides that certainty with a complete age verification solutions for adult websites, that ensures total privacy for end users. Click here for more information.

France could block adult websites without age verification checks by 24 May 2022

France Age Verification

On March 8 the French audiovisual and digital communication regulator Arcom took a case to the Judicial Court of Paris on the basis that several adult websites with free content had failed to comply with legal obligations to introduce age verification checks on users, despite receiving an injunction in December.

“The formal notices issued by the regulator have not been acted upon to date,” said Arcom in a published statement. “If the courts, in the long term, so decide, the websites of the publishers will no longer be accessible from French territory.”

Bailiff’s reports commissioned by Arcom found that the sites have not modified their access conditions. The sites’ current approach of simply asking users to tick a check-box stating they are over 18 is seen as not satisfactory and that by failing to introduce better controls they are breaking the law.

The blocking of websites still depends on the decision of the court, whose hearing is scheduled for May 24. But if the judge rules in favor of Arcom, internet users who try to access the sites will instead be automatically redirected to a webpage explaining why access is restricted. Arcom may also request that search engines such as Google, Bing, and Qwant delist them.

The legal action marks the latest in a long line of efforts to clamp down on children’s access to the free porn industry. In November 2017, French President Emmanuel Macron voiced his opposition to the unregulated nature of online porn in France. “Uniting the virtual world, stereotypes, domination and violence, pornography has found, thanks to digital tools, a right of citizenship in our schools,” he said.

Porn sites operating in France have been required to put in place an age verification mechanism since a law on domestic violence, which included a clause relating to age checks, was passed in July 2020. Offenders risk, in addition to removing their content from search engines, up to three years’ imprisonment and a fine of €375,000 ($US410,000).

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Children’s charity Barnardos has requested all adult websites introduce age verification

age verification

UK Children’s charity Barnardo’s has written an open letter calling for all adult websites to introduce age verification voluntarily, without waiting for the UK Governement’s Online Safety Bill to come into law.

The open letter, which has been signed by a dozen organisations, that have called for pornography websites to change their content standards.

Calls for the voluntary age-verification comes as MPs prepare to debate the new Online Safety Bill, which was recently introduced to Westminster. The bill would force all commercial pornography websites to implement age-verification.

Lynn Perry MBE, Bernardo’s chief executive, said: “Every day children are seeing harmful pornography online and we must act now to protect them.”

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UK & Australia moving forward with age verification legislation

Both the UK and Australian Governments are advancing their agendas to ensure that adult content sites ensure their users are 18 years old or over.

In the UK, the planned Online Safety Bill will be expanded to legally require “robust checks” are made by websites. Chris Philp, the digital minister, said “We are now strengthening the online safety bill so it applies to all porn sites to ensure we achieve our aim of making the internet a safer place for children.” Under the plans, the UK’s Ofcom will be able fine sites up to 10 per cent of their annual worldwide turnover or can block them from being accessible in the UK if they fail to act. The legislation had initially only targeted commercial porn sites that allow user-generated content, now all commercial porn sites are to be included within the scope of the proposed new rules. Age verification should be a implemented on any website displaying pornographic content and the sites should not process or store data that is irrelevant to the purpose of checking age.

Australia’s eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, intends to present the roadmap to the federal government by the end of the year that outlines that age verification trials are now under way in Australia for online gambling and alcohol sales, and are projected to be expanded to include online pornography as the federal government looks to restrict sexually explicit content on the internet from underage children.

UK considering to revive age verification scheme for online adult content

A U.K. parliamentary committee, chaired by Damian Collins MP, commented that “A lack of regulation online has left too many people vulnerable to abuse, fraud, violence and in some cases even loss of life,” he claimed. His U.K. parliamentary committee has spent six months analyzing the government’s proposals for “online safety” reforms.

At the beginning of December 2021, the UK Government commented in The Times newspaper that it is ready to revive an age verification scheme for online adult content — a plan previously shelved in favor of the pending Online Safety Bill.

The Times was told that an age verification plan was now “being looked on with approval by Nadine Dorries, the culture secretary, and Nadhim Zahawi, the education secretary.”

“Their support follows work by Dame Rachel de Souza, the Children’s Commissioner, who has sent a report to ministers recommending that age verification become compulsory on all porn sites,” The Times added.

According to tech news site TechCrunch, the committee’s report endorsed the government’s push “to go beyond industry self-regulation by enforcing compliance with a set of rules intended to hold tech giants accountable for the content they spread and monetize — including via a series of codes of practice and with the media regulator, Ofcom, given a new major oversight and enforcement role over Internet content.”

“The era of self-regulation for big tech has come to an end,” committee chair Damian Collins declared.

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