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Louisiana Residents Now Need a Government ID to Visit Porn Sites

A new law went into effect on Jan. 1, with the intent of protecting minors from "harmful content."

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Golibtolibov/Getty

For most sites in most places, verifying your age is a simple matter of picking a date from decades ago and clicking "verify." That's no longer the case in Louisiana. 

Act 440, which went into effect on Sunday, requires the state's 4.6 million residents who seek to gain access to porn site likes PornHub to prove their age with government-issued identification.

Louisiana residents who try to visit PornHub are greeted by a screen stating: "Louisiana law now requires us to put in place a process for verifying the age of users who connect to our site from Louisiana."

Through a third-party verification site called AllPassTrust, users need to connect their digital ID or driver's license through LAWallet, Louisiana's digital driver's license platform. It appears that other porn streaming sites have yet to be affected. 

Act 440 was authored by Republican state Rep. Laurie Schegel, passed by the state's Republican-controlled legislature and signed into law by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards. Sites with a "substantial portion" of content deemed "harmful to minors" are made liable if they don't perform "reasonable age verification methods to verify the age of individuals attempting to access the material."

A "substantial portion" is defined as anything over 33.3%. So platforms like Twitter, where porn is allowed, are presumably unaffected. Content "harmful to minors" is described by the new law as that showing any of the following: "Pubic hair, anus, vulva, genitals, or nipple of the female breast. Touching, caressing, or fondling of nipples, breasts, buttocks, anuses, or genitals. Sexual intercourse, masturbation, sodomy, bestiality, oral copulation, flagellation, excretory functions, exhibitions, or any other sexual act."

Some hope that a similar law will be adopted at a federal level. On Dec. 14, Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican of Utah, introduced the SCREEN Act (Shielding Children's Retinas from Egregious Exposure on the Net), which would require porn sites to properly verify the age of its users across the US. 

"Online pornography is extreme and graphic and only one click away from our children," Louisiana's Schegel wrote in a Dec. 30 Facebook post. "This is not your daddy's Playboy. And if pornography companies refuse to be responsible, then we must hold them accountable. This law is a first step."

Pornhub, XVideos and Redtube didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.