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Pornography websites sue Indiana over new law requiring stricter age verification

A mockup of an age verification prompt on a website.
Photo illustration by Lauren Chapman
/
IPB News
An Indiana law set to take effect July 1, 2024 requires websites that host material harmful to minors to require stricter age verification.

A group of pornography website operators are suing the state of Indiana over a new law that requires stricter age verification for sites that have adult content.

The operators want a judge to block the law from taking effect July 1.

The law, SEA 17, requires sites with “material harmful to minors” to verify their customers’ ages with a mobile driver’s license or government ID (which Indiana doesn’t provide) or through a third-party service that verifies the customer’s age.

If they don’t, the law bans them from operating in Indiana.

The adult platforms and their trade association, the Free Speech Coalition, said the measure is unconstitutional censorship. They argued the age verification requirement is both vague and won’t protect children because it’s easy to circumvent.

Attorney General Todd Rokita called the law a common-sense effort to shield children from pornography.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.