Lawmakers have set into place an age check for adult content sites specifically in the state of Louisiana. The Louisiana Age Verification Law is designed to prevent minors from viewing adult content. However, rights groups are pushing back stating it violates the first amendment right to free speech as well as being an ineffective measure.
The law was introduced last year by Republican rep. Laurie Schlegel, a “certified sex addiction therapist”. Following suit, Republican US Senator Mike Lee from Utah proposed a nation-wide age verification mandate for regulators.
If you operate a pornography website or an adult content brand, this post will help you understand how this new law affects your business and what you can do about it.
Louisiana Age Verification Law Requirements for Adult Content Businesses
For the state of Louisiana, adult content sites are now required to ask users to complete an age verification. Here’s how it works:
- User accessing your site is greeted with an age verification popup
- The popup directs users to their smartphone
- The app LA Wallet will store their driver’s license (or state ID) to verify age
- Your website will receive the yes/no response
It’s not a complicated process, though it has major drawbacks. Before we delve into that, here’s what you need to do ASAP.
What You Need to Do Right Now
This law is in effect now, so you need to act ASAP.
- You need to sign up with LA Wallet. There is no clear answer yet (even on LA Wallet’s official website), so we recommend contacting them to see how to implement the age verification API.
- Set localization rules for your pornographic website. The law only affects Louisiana, meaning you only need to display this for users in LA.
Issues with the Louisiana Age Verification Law
From freedom of speech to a hit on your bottom line, this new law is met with a ton of industry pushback.
A previous law was deemed unconstitutional in 2009 for something very similar. While the goal was to protect children and minors from viewing pornographic material, it did so by fining commercial entities if age verification wasn’t imposed during checkout through the credit card.
Freedom of Speech
The biggest argument against age verification for pornographic content is the violation of the 1st amendment for both users and business owners.
Age verification only restricts access to online porn and does not stop minors from accessing it in other ways. Adding this verification encourages censorship, first and foremost. This view is promoted by Jason Kelley of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital civil liberties group.
Accessibility & False Positives
The problem with this so-called reasonable age verification is that there’s no way to get 100% accuracy.
People who are underage can use false information, like using the phone and ID of an 18-year-old (or older). It also leaves out adults who do not have a smartphone or want to use the app for various reasons.
False positives are also an issue — this means that people who are of age cannot get access because the age verification system fails.
The only guarantee of data privacy so far is from PornHub, which has already enabled this age verification feature for LA residents. But as we know, data is data.
Over the past two decades, there have been countless breaches on ultra-secure data banks. Even if the adult website doesn’t take user data directly, the LA Wallet app could. Let alone hacks performed by those who want to steal and sell data.
Using this verification is not free.
Businesses must register with LA Wallet and select a paid plan in order to start identifying users. While the app is free for users to download, buying a smartphone is not.
The cost of simply implementing this verification feature for new businesses might not be within budget, preventing them from growing.
The process adds at least an extra 30 seconds to the login screen. Generally, porn sites offer free access to at least some content. But with the verification roadblock, users must take the appropriate steps to access the content they seek.
This extra step deters users from continuing to access the site, which can lead to less growth and a hit to pornography companies’ bottom line.
Do You Have to Comply? Ways Around the New Louisiana Law
Yes, you legally do have to comply if you want to continue operating within the state of Louisiana. But there are ways around it.
Don’t Operate in LA
The simplest solution is to halt operations for the state of Louisiana. Obviously, that means you won’t be receiving any revenue from this region, but at least you won’t have to worry about legal issues.
There’s a fear that enforcing this law doesn’t prevent minors from watching porn nor the sexualization of minors, rather it allows adults to sue adult content sites for failing to comply. The best way to avoid this issue is to get out of the game.
Partner with a VPN
An easy way for users to circumvent this rule is to use a VPN. At the login/verification page, you can promote a VPN service for users.
Saying something like, “Can’t access the site in your region? Try using a VPN!” It’s vague enough that combatants can’t claim you specifically did this for LA residents.
Besides that, partnering with a VPN provider gives you an extra revenue stream on the side.
Whatever You Choose, Inform Your Louisiana Users of the Law NOW
Loyal users and new users alike should know what’s going on with your site and all adult content sites for the state of Louisiana.
Send an Email
A simple email stating important privacy changes as well as your stance on the matter will smooth things out just a little bit.
When users are greeted with an unfriendly change, they won’t blame the state. They’ll blame you. And that will lead to a lot more immediate trouble than complying with this new age verification law brings.
Popup Notice on Site
Of course, users will see the verification screen, but that doesn’t mean they’ll immediately understand it. Provide a popup or a paragraph on the verification page that says why this is here.
Age Verification or Not, Your Business Is Done If You Don’t Have the Right Payment Ecosystem in Place
No matter your stance on pornographic content accessibility or how you decide to move forward regarding the state of Louisiana, you need an adult merchant processor.
Your customers need a secure, streamlined way to pay for your content, and the only way to make that happen without risking it all is with a merchant account designed for your business. DirectPayNet connects businesses like yours with a merchant account and payment processor to help you scale.