Starting this week, Pornhub has completely disabled its website for everybody living in the state of Utah, Vice reports — a significant escalation over a controversial new law that requires porn sites to verify users' ages without having much of a plan as to how to enforce it.

Critics argue the new law isn't just unconstitutional, but will also end up having the opposite of the intended effect: putting children at even more risk online.

Utah has long had it out for adult content, declaring porn a "public health crisis" back in 2016, in an effort that presaged later efforts by other states.

Instead of accessing the usual content, anybody in the state who travels to Pornhub's website as of this week will be greeted with a video of adult performer Cherie DeVille, a member of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, reading out a statement.

"As you may know, your elected officials in Utah are requiring us to verify your age before allowing you access to our website," the performer says in the video. "While safety and compliance are at the forefront of our mission, giving your ID card every time you want to visit an adult platform is not the most effective solution for protecting our users, and in fact, will put children and your privacy at risk."

DeVille argues that placing age restrictions "without proper enforcement" will encourage residents to visit sites "with far fewer safety measures in place."

"To protect children and user privacy, any legislation must be enforced against all platforms offering adult content," DeVille explained.

The drama kicked off when Utah governor Spencer Cox signed a new bill into law that holds porn sites "liable if the entity fails to perform reasonable age verification methods to verify the age of an individual attempting to access the material."

And it's not just Utah. Louisiana, Mississippi and Virginia have passed similar age-verification laws.

Louisiana's took effect this year. While the state has a digital "wallet" system Pornhub already uses to verify drivers' licenses, Utah has no such verification tool, Axios reports.

Experts have long argued that age verification laws simply don't work, and instead end up driving traffic to far more questionable websites.

"I think that has a huge chilling effect on anybody who's operating in the sexual wellness space, as well as obviously, sexual speech of all kinds including adult content," Michael Stabile, a spokesperson for the Free Speech Coalition, told Axios.

Besides, there are extremely easy ways to bypass these restrictions with the use of VPNs. And most of the porn sites operating in the US aren't even based in the US, as Reddit users were quick to point out, meaning that they will likely not bother making any changes.

Some Utah residents met the news with humor.

"I guess it’s back to the days of finding a rain soaked moldy Penthouse hidden in the bushes in the field on my way home from school," one Reddit user wrote.

More on Pornhub: New Louisiana Law Forces You to Upload ID to Watch Porn Online

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