A Republican lawmaker in Tennessee has introduced legislation to implement age-verification requirements to protect kids from being exposed to pornography.
The “Protect Tennessee Minors Act,” sponsored by state Rep. Patsy Hazlewood (R), would mandate pornography distributors put in place age-verification measures to ensure minors in the Volunteer State are barred from accessing sexually explicit content.
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“Exposing children to pornography is a form of child sexual abuse and exploitation that can severely damage a child’s intellectual development and emotional well-being,” said Hazlewood, chair of the House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee. “It can lead to difficulty in forming and maintaining positive relationships. This legislation will apply the same safeguards and restrictions to the online world that we already have in place in the physical world. The standard should be the same.”
The legislative proposal is similar to laws already in place in Utah and Virginia, where the largest pornography distributor — Pornhub — is inaccessible.
Pornhub blocked Virginians’ access to its platform in retaliation to the commonwealth’s law requiring the site implement an age-verification system. Pornhub has claimed the statute violates users’ privacy.
As CBN Digital reported, there are serious legal concerns with Pornhub and other pornography distributors, not least of which are problems with child sexual abuse material — or child pornography — circulating online.
Hazlewood’s legislation would require companies like Pornhub to match a user profile image to a verified government-issued I.D. Sites that don’t follow through with the requirement would be charged with Class C felonies, up to 15 years in prison, and $10,000 fines.
“My top priority is the safety and health of my children,” said Jacob Levy, a Tennessee-based tech industry executive. “Pornography is a societal disaster. Modernizing existing laws to require age verification will protect children from it and help the internet stay digital, not degenerate.”