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Texas sues Pornhub owner for not adding age verification requirements



Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has sued the company behind Pornhub for not complying with state-level age verification rules. The suit, filed in Travis County District Court against Pornhub parent Aylo, accuses Aylo of failing to implement “reasonable age verification methods” on Pornhub and other adult sites that it owns. It seeks millions of dollars in damages under a law that was initially blocked as unconstitutional, then allowed to take effect last year.

Texas is one of numerous states that have pushed for stricter age verification on either pornographic sites specifically or large parts of the internet as a whole. Its version of the law, HB 1181, requires that pornographic sites use either their own methods or a third-party service to collect information like a government-issued ID to ensure minors don’t get in. (Age verification can pose privacy risks for users, and when the rules are location specific, they can be bypassed with something like a VPN.) HB 1181 also requires that the sites display “sexual materials health warnings” making dubiously substantiated claims about pornography’s effects on health. Pornhub reportedly added these warnings last year, although Texas also accuses Aylo of failing to display them. Aylo did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the suit.

Aylo, known as MindGeek until last year, is facing mounting regulatory and political battles. The company has sometimes complied with state-level restrictions in the US, including in Louisiana and (at least partially) in Texas, but it’s simply blocked users in other states that have passed laws, including North Carolina and Montana at the start of 2024. The European Union also designated Pornhub a “Very Large Online Platform” subject to regulation under the Digital Services Act, and UK regulator Ofcom has renewed long-standing efforts to ramp up age verification for porn. HB 1181 allows fines of $10,000 per day for violations, which Texas’ lawsuit demands on top of a lump sum of up to $1.6 million — something that may tip the financial calculus for Pornhub’s future in the state.

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