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Senate committee approves bill to require stricter age verification for pornographic websites

By Brandon Smith, IPB News | Published on in Government, Politics, Technology
Sen. Mike Bohacek (R-Michiana Shores) presents legislation to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Jan. 10, 2024. (Brandon Smith / IPB News)

Indiana lawmakers are taking steps to make it harder for children to access pornographic websites.

Sen. Mike Bohacek’s (R-Michiana Shores) bill, SB17, that cleared a Senate committee Wednesday would require those websites to use an age verification system that goes beyond just clicking “yes” when asked if you’re age 18 or older.

“We need to try to put some speed bumps on this and try to make sure it’s not as accessible as just, you know, turning your phone on,” Bohacek said.

The bill would require the sites to verify their customers’ ages with a mobile driver’s license or government ID (which Indiana doesn’t provide) or through a third-party service that verifies the customer’s age.

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ACLU of Indiana Executive Director Chris Daley said a similar measure has been halted by a court in Texas for being unconstitutionally broad.

“Which is why we’re encouraging you to wait and see how it comes out,” Daley said.

Some lawmakers, including Sen. Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne), didn’t like that suggestion.

“It would be absolutely wrong for us to do as legislators,” Brown said. “We’d be derelict in our duty.”

The bill now heads to the full Senate.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.