One judge dissents, saying Texas law “limits adults’ access to protected speech.”

Texas can enforce a law requiring age-verification systems on porn websites, the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled Thursday. The appeals court vacated an injunction against the law’s age-verification requirement but said that Texas cannot enforce a provision requiring porn websites to “display health warnings about the effects of the consumption of pornography.”

In a 2-1 decision, judges ruled that “the age-verification requirement is rationally related to the government’s legitimate interest in preventing minors’ access to pornography. Therefore, the age-verification requirement does not violate the First Amendment.”

The Texas law was challenged by the owners of Pornhub and other adult websites and an adult-industry lobby group called the Free Speech Coalition. “We disagree strenuously with the analysis of the Court majority,” the Free Speech Coalition said. “As the dissenting opinion by Judge [Patrick] Higginbotham makes clear, this ruling violates decades of precedent from the Supreme Court.”

  • IHeartBadCode
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    782 months ago

    In a 2-1 decision, judges ruled that “the age-verification requirement is rationally related to the government’s legitimate interest in preventing minors’ access to pornography. Therefore, the age-verification requirement does not violate the First Amendment.”

    WHY CAN PARENTS NOT DO THIS ASPECT?!

    This is the continual wild part of recent conservative bullshit. Everything the State is taking up is basically something a parent could step in and deal with.

    “My kid read a bad book that turned them into a frog! Which is also gay!”

    Well watch what your fucking is reading then and have a discussion about why you disapprove of it.

    “My kid is watching porn and now they can’t function in society and don’t want to get a $7.25/hr job of listening to Karens scream at them!”

    Then fucking don’t leave a computer in the their room perhaps? Maybe take their phone away at the end of the day? I mean or have a rational discussion about their ever changing body as they begin to become an adult? I mean any one of those is better than “OH I KNOW! I’LL LET THE GOVERNMENT PARENT FOR ME!!”

    And what’s wilder about the Conservative movement, the level of parenting has zero rhyme or reason.

    • Watching porn? — That’s Government parenting.
    • Working in a meat packing facility with blades so sharp they slice through literal bone? — Oh yeah that’s totally a regular parent thing.

    Fucking wild is what it is!

    I’m really struggling to wrap my head around where this line between Government overstepping and justified Government regulation is with them. If you don’t want your kid watching porn, then don’t let them fucking watch porn. Ideally you should have a talk about their ever evolving sexuality but clearly that’s just crazy liberal talk from me.

    I had some discussion with someone once about the 10th amendment and it relating to State’s banning abortion. And guy was like “Oh yeah this is a clear win for State’s rights!” And I’m like, the 10th amendment is setup that we have one of two winners at the end of the day. The State or the People.

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    It says OR there. That means every “State win” is a “the people loss”. You do understand that right?

    Just fucking silence as that thought slow rolled into his brain’s processing center, that then subsequently hit the panic button because of overload.

    I just fucking can’t. DO you want Big Brother in everything or no? Because every inch you give to the Government helps them step-bro your ass.

    • @Garbanzo
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      272 months ago

      have a rational discussion

      Can conservatives even?

    • @orclev
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      262 months ago

      It’s because you’re thinking rationally and they not only aren’t, but can’t. Their position is inherently irrational but they want to justify it so they pick and choose and decide to just ignore anything that doesn’t support their desires. Saying states rights and small government has always just been an excuse, it’s just what they actually want isn’t something they can say out loud.

      States rights has always been about racism. None of them cared about states rights until it looked like the federal government was going to outlaw slavery. The next time they started screaming about states rights was when desegregation went into effect and they were forced to treat minorities like actual people. Literally every time they start talking about states rights is when they’re being dragged kicking and screaming away from racism.

      As for “small government” that’s just an excuse to cut social programs they don’t like. You know, the ones that most benefit the poor and minorities (although with the erosion of the middle class at the hands of the ultra wealthy increasingly it also greatly benefits everyone but the ultra wealthy), groups that conservatives have historically discriminated against (and once again it primarily comes back to racism). They’ll never propose cutting spending to groups they like, namely police (because they primarily target the poor and minorities), and the military (I think you can see a pattern here). They’re more than happy to support government spending when those dollars go to something that benefits the wealthy or hurts some kind of minority group.

    • @[email protected]
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      202 months ago

      I’m really struggling to wrap my head around where this line between Government overstepping and justified Government regulation is with them.

      It’s things they don’t like, if they don’t like it, regulate it until it disappears.

    • A Phlaming Phoenix
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      2 months ago

      There’s a better way to legislate/regulate this that conservatives are either intentionally overlooking or are just too ignorant to come up with on their own.

      Instead of putting up easily circumvented barriers to accessing porn, why not require that sites which serve adult material be labeled with an HTML meta tag indicating as much? This puts responsibility for compliance on the content providers while allowing for parents to install applications on their kids’ devices that deny access to that material. Parents can then have their parental rights to allow or deny access to this material while content providers are minimally burdened to set up the necessary protections. Nothing is outright banned, so everyone keeps their freedom to produce or consume porn. It also establishes a framework for indicating more granular detail about the kind of content offered on a per-page basis, allowing for finer parental controls (around, say, gambling or cryptocurrency or non-pornographic sexual material or violence or literally anything you like).

  • Semi-Hemi-Demigod
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    662 months ago

    “As the dissenting opinion by Judge [Patrick] Higginbotham makes clear, this ruling violates decades of precedent from the Supreme Court.”

    Dude, the Supreme Court doesn’t care about the precedent of the Supreme Court anymore. Why would Texas care?

  • @orclev
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    352 months ago

    Fuckers. Nobody was disputing that Texas could require age verification, the complaint was about requiring their bullshit health warning that has no scientific basis. Corrupt judges just decided to ignore the actual complaint and rule on the part of the law nobody was contesting.

    • Uranium3006
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      322 months ago

      age verification inherently means making lists of people accessing information they might not want people knowing about, and information isolation is a classic tactic in support of abuse. it must be opposed at all times and in all forms

      • @orclev
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        42 months ago

        Well it’s a complicated topic. To start with, you need to define what constitutes age verification. Do the ubiquitous “I certify I’m over 18” click through disclaimers that essentially all porn websites use count? Personally I say they do. If they don’t, then things become more complicated because there’s a right to privacy, so now you need to balance that against any content restrictions, and there’s a good argument that the right to privacy is the greater right so anything that would violate that is a nonstarter.

        As for the legal argument there’s a good bit of prior law that supports the states right to restrict access to pornography to minors (for all the good it does). I’m not trying to debate for or against that, just saying it’s something that the courts have previously upheld and it’s unlikely they would be willing to change their stance now.

        Requiring a specific age verification, or that visitor information be turned over to the state in some fashion I think you’d have a pretty good argument is a step too far though and that situation is certainly not a settled legal matter.

        Regardless of all that though, arguing that the state has no right to compel what is arguably false speech by way of their bullshit health disclaimer should have been an easy home run. Since the judges had clearly already decided how they wanted to rule in the case and they didn’t have a leg to stand on legally they just moved the goal post and completely ignored the primary complaint to rule on the one aspect that there was some amount of prior law to support.

  • @[email protected]
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    282 months ago

    What level of verification is required? Do you have to opt in to watch porn with your ISP? Is a credit card enough? Send them a copy of your birth certificate?

    I’m curious if companies will comply or just cut Texas off completely. That may take care of the big paysites and Pornhub, but there hundreds of rehost steam sites and torrent sites that will just ignore it. In which case Texas will have to build their own great firewall.

    • @MotoAsh
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      52 months ago

      They don’t care about the nuances of control. They just want to control people.

  • Rayspekt
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    242 months ago

    I hope the internet is prepared for when VPNs will be targeted. A LOT of free access to the internet nowadays hinges on the use of VPNs and I have been dreading the day when corpos and politicians finally catch up to that fact for some years now. Remember when credit card companies removed themselves from Pornhub as a payment method after just one article from about exploiative material on the platform?

    Just think about the consequences when you will only be able to subscribe to VPNs through bitcoin. I know, subscribing with your credit card isn’t the smartest move in regards to privacy, but it works for a lot of stuff that isn’t that dramatic (e. g. circumventing geoblocking).

    I don’t think we’re that far away from the endgame for the free internet. Enshittification is just the first step. When that eventually doesn’t work out, they will come for VPNs and stuff like the fediverse.

    • Flying Squid
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      112 months ago

      Tons of businesses rely on VPNs. There is no way they will be targeted.

      • @[email protected]
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        82 months ago

        I think the commenter means commercial anonymizing VPN services (no-log ones), not the network protocol itself

    • @Viking_Hippie
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      72 months ago

      That they’d somehow twist it into a ruling outlawing porn for anyone under 50, tbh 🤷

  • @[email protected]
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    2 months ago

    In a 2-1 decision, judges ruled that “the age-verification requirement is rationally related to the government’s legitimate interest in preventing minors’ access to pornography. Therefore, the age-verification requirement does not violate the First Amendment.”

    Haven’t seen the opinion, but I’d think that the bar here is strict scrutiny, and that’s probably a higher bar than being “rationally related”.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strict_scrutiny

    In U.S. constitutional law, when a law infringes upon a fundamental constitutional right, the court may apply the strict scrutiny standard. Strict scrutiny holds the challenged law as presumptively invalid unless the government can demonstrate that the law or regulation is necessary to achieve a “compelling state interest”. The government must also demonstrate that the law is “narrowly tailored” to achieve that compelling purpose, and that it uses the “least restrictive means” to achieve that purpose. Failure to meet this standard will result in striking the law as unconstitutional.

    The standard is the highest and most stringent standard of judicial review and is part of the levels of judicial scrutiny that courts use to determine whether a constitutional right or principle should give way to the government’s interest against observance of the principle. The lesser standards are rational basis review and exacting or intermediate scrutiny. These standards are applied to statutes and government action at all levels of government within the United States.

    U.S. courts apply the strict scrutiny standard in two contexts:

    • when a fundamental constitutional right is infringed, particularly those found in the Bill of Rights and those the court has deemed a fundamental right protected by the Due Process Clause or “liberty clause” of the 14th Amendment, or

    reads article

    Huh. Well, the majority opinion was apparently specifically that this was not the case:

    The 5th Circuit, generally regarded as one of the most conservative appeals courts, found that the Texas porn-site law should be reviewed on the “rational-basis” standard and not under strict scrutiny.

  • @fustigation769curtain
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    32 months ago

    Kind of glad I had access to porn as a kid, although sex would’ve been way better.