Louisiana law invokes mixed reactions

Nicholas Soirez

When the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1, Louisiana gained new restrictions on porn access. Louisiana Act 440, passed last year by the Louisiana state legislature, requires any website with at least a third of its “material harmful to minors” to provide an age verification check. The law also requires these checks with anything that “lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value for minors.”

A few sites, such as Pornhub and RedTube, have complied with the law, putting up an age verification check for users to visit their page. Most other sites, however, have not yet complied with the demands of Act 440. Additionally, many users have found ways to bypass the age verification checks by using their data rather than a Wi-Fi connection.

Across campus, reactions to this law vary. Many oppose the law, believing it represents a breach of internet privacy. Ronnie Clark, a freshman computer science major, said the law is “free blackmail” for other people to use against viewers of the sites. “I’m sorry, but I’m never going to touch that site,” Clark said. 

Another student, freshman pre-pharmacy major Emileigh Kavanagh, said that she doesn’t support the law, not only because she is concerned about the sites’ access to users’ personal information but also because the law may set a precedent for other states to follow. “It’s only opening a gateway for other laws to be put in place and other states also implementing this restriction on their internet,” Kavanagh said.

Despite the backlash Act 440 has received, some students support the law and what it tries to achieve. George Khawas, a freshman computer science major, says that pornography is “destructive media that damages our youth’s brains.” Though he said he recognizes that privacy is an important element of concern, he doesn’t see any other way to approach the issue at hand.

Both sides of the argument have genuine concerns, whether it be child safety online or internet privacy. Act 440 attempts to solve the problem of unsafe media for minors while possibly raising the issue of invasion of privacy. Regardless of their opinion on the issue, Louisiana residents will have to comply with the age checks or find their adult content elsewhere.