A new Louisiana law allows parents to seek civil remedies against companies that do not have reasonable verification procedures to keep minors out of porn sites and other sites that contain harmful material. The Louisiana Age Verification law will go into effect at the beginning of 2023.
HB142, introduced by Representative Laurie Schlegel, R-Metairie, was passed to "provide a civil remedy for damages against commercial entities who distribute material harmful to minors." The Louisiana Age Verification Law focuses on pornography, citing that "advances in technology, the universal availability of the internet, and limited age verification requirements" have created a public health crisis.
According to KTAL TV, the Louisiana Age Verification Law does not require websites to have verification systems. Still, it allows the State of Louisiana to sue if they do not have these systems.
The law does not target Twitter, Netflix, or other such entities, according to the AVPA News Letter 2022. If you release a "bona fide news or public interest broadcast, website video, report, or event," you are not the target of this law. Internet service providers, search engines, and cloud service providers are immune since they did not create the content. The Louisiana Age Verification Law applies to sites that "contain a substantial portion" of porn, defined by the law as thirty-three and one-third percent. These sites "shall be held liable if the entity fails to perform reasonable age verification methods to verify the age of individuals attempting to access the material."
The Louisiana Age Verification Law also stipulates that such sites "shall not retain any identifying information of the individual after access has been granted to the material."
A violator can look forward to damages, including "court costs and reasonable attorney fees as ordered by the court."
Louisiana ID requirements for accessing these sites for adults 18 or older include a driver's license or other state-issued identification, including a digitized identification card. Another verification method, as listed in the Louisiana Age Verification Law, is "a commercial age verification system that verifies in one or more of the following ways:
(i) Government-issued identification.
(ii) Any commercially reasonable method that relies on public or private transactional data to verify the age of the person attempting to access the information is at least eighteen years of age or older."
La R.S. 26:90 also considers acceptable a "valid, current, special identification card issued by the state of Louisiana...containing a photograph of the person," a "valid, current passport or visa," or "a valid, current, military or federal identification card issued by the federal government containing a photograph of the person and date of birth of the person submitting the identification card."
The Department of Homeland Security states, "On May 3, 2023, U.S. travelers must be REAL ID compliant to board domestic flights and access certain federal facilities." These pictures of I.D.s have a gold star; therefore, it will be essential to recognize these as valid.
Representative Schlegel, the law's sponsor, is a counselor and a sex addiction therapist. She asserts that exposure at a young age to pornography can have harmful effects on kids. She also points out that porn is much easier nowadays since the internet is so prevalent. "We're walking around with little porn devices, computers, 24/7," says Schlegel. Citing the work of Dr. Gail Dines, Schlegel says that "children under the age of 10 now account for 22 percent of underage online porn consumption," and that "the average of first exposure to pornography is 11 years old, and some estimate it's now younger."
There has been some pushback against the law. According to Michael McGrady's article on YNOT.com, this bill has raised concerns and objections with "civil liberty groups and human rights groups over governmental overreach and the diminishment of encryption and anonymity." There is also the need to keep up with all valid forms of identification.
Finally, some accessing these sites may have questions about what forms of I.D. are acceptable. Questions such as, "What documents do I need to get a real id?", "How can I show my Louisiana ID online?" and even "Where can I fill out my Louisiana ID card application?" will need to check with their local DMV office.
Those who object to the law must now learn to live with it.
BlueCheck achieves this balance by combining a sleek, field-tested user interface with a robust verification engine that connects to a network of authoritative databases and credit bureaus. In addition, we partner with companies in various industries and growth stages to provide affordable, reliable online age verification. Learn more about how BlueCheck can help you solve your age verification challenges!
Shannon Heckt, "Bill aims to push companies to ask for I.D. before giving access to pornography." <https://www.arklatexhomepage.com/news/state-news/louisiana/bill-aims-to-push-companies-to-ask-for-id-before-giving-access-to-pornography/?ipid=promo-link-block1>
Age Verification Providers Association News Letter July 4, 2022. < https://us7.campaign-archive.com/?u=2d269e5ac483058c78832203c&id=77f35451e1#mctoc5>
2022 Regular Session: HB143 by Representative Laurie Schlegel. https://www.legis.la.gov/legis/BillInfo.aspx?s=22RS&b=HB142&sbi=y
2022 Regular Session: Act No. 440, House Bill No. 142. https://www.legis.la.gov/legis/ViewDocument.aspx?d=1289498
Louisiana State Legislature: CHAPTER 61. DIGITIZED IDENTIFICATION CARD ACCEPTANCE. http://legis.la.gov/legis/Law.aspx?d=1195448
La R.S. 26:90 – Legal forms of identification in Louisiana. https://atc.louisiana.gov/docs/Legal%20Forms%20of%20ID.pdf
Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles: Home/Drivers/Personal Driver's Licenses/Real ID. https://www.expresslane.org/drivers/personal-driver-s-licenses/real-id/
Michael McGrady, "La. Bill Would Enable Residents to Sue Adult Sites Over Age Verification." https://www.ynot.com/louisiana-bill-residents-sue-adult-sites/