Searches for VPN Skyrocket in Texas After Pornhub Shuts Down Access in State

Searches by Texas users for the term “VPN” jumped more than fourfold after Pornhub and its parent company’s network of other pornography websites disabled access in the state this week, according to Google data.

VPNs, or virtual private networks, establish an encrypted connection between a user and the public internet — and they can also mask the location of user, making it appear as if they’re accessing the internet from another state or country.

A number of Texans evidently have a newfound interest in location-spoofing VPN services, coming after Pornhub and other affiliated adult websites on March 14 blocked access to users in the state to protest Texas’ age-verification law requiring pornography sites to institute age-verification measures to ensure only adults 18 and older are able to access them.

A new message displayed Thursday on Pornhub (and other sites operated by parent company Aylo) to users with internet addresses registered to ISPs in Texas explained that it was disabling access to comply with the law. The company claims it has long supported age-verification access measures, but criticized the Texas law as “ineffective, haphazard and dangerous” because it forces users to provide identification every time they visit an adult-content platform rather than verifying users’ ages on their devices.

“Until the real solution is offered, we have made the difficult decision to completely disable access to our website in Texas,” the message on Pornhub and other Aylo sites said. “In doing so, we are complying with the law, as we always do, but hope that governments around the world will implement laws that actually protect the safety and security of users.”

Of the 20 metro areas tracked by Google, the highest search interest in VPNs over that the past seven days was in Dallas-Ft. Worth, followed by Houston, Austin, Waco-Temple-Bryan and San Antonio.

Here’s the Google Trends chart showing relative search interest in the term “VPN” over the past seven days in Texas:

Aylo is owned by Canadian private-equity firm Ethical Capital Partners, which acquired Pornhub’s predecessor company MindGeek for undisclosed financial terms last year.

In a statement, Alex Kekesi, Aylo’s VP of brand and community, said about the situation in Texas: “This is not the end. We are reviewing options and consulting with our legal team… We will continue to fight for our industry and the performers that legally earn a living, and we will continue to appeal through all available judicial recourse to recognize that this law is unconstitutional.”

Pornhub and Aylo’s network of other sites — which include Brazzers, RedTube, YouPorn, Mofos and Reality Kings — are also blocked or restricted in at least seven other U.S. states where similar laws have been enacted: Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Virginia and Utah.

Source

Leave a Comment