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Conservatives take on adult entertainment industry

​FILE PHOTO: Illustrations of pages of porn sites on the web.

FILE PHOTO: Illustrations of pages of porn sites on the web.

Jean-Michel Delage / Hans Lucas via Reuters Connect

“Yes, I’m an adult” boxes for popular adult sites may soon become a thing of the past.

Sen. Julie Miville-Dechêne, an independent, has proposed a law that would require Canadians to verify their age to access sexually explicit material online to prevent minors from being exposed to harmful content.

The law would pose a challenge to Montreal-based Aylo, which owns Pornhub and some of the internet’s other biggest adult video sites. An Aylo executive told the Canadian Press the company is considering blocking Canadian users if parliamentarians pass a bill imposing age verification on the sites.

Several US states — including Louisiana, Montana, and Arkansas — have passed similar laws requiring internet users to upload government identification to prove they are old enough to access Aylo and similar websites. This caused traffic to crash in those states, prompting Aylo to geo-block IP addresses in those areas.

Adult sites will face another challenge when rules under the UK’s Online Safety Act come into force next year, requiring British internet surfers to upload passports or credit cards before they can access such sites. Privacy advocates warn that the law poses risks to internet users’ privacy and security.

The Canadian bill is just going to a House of Commons committee to be studied. The governing Liberals oppose even studying the measure, but they were outvoted by the Conservatives, NDP, and Bloc Quebecois MPs. The bill is unlikely to go anywhere with the governing Liberals opposed to it, but on Wednesday, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievresaid he would support an age-verification law, which means Canadians could see a similar law if the Conservatives win the next election, as all the polls predict they will.


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