VPN Searches Soar After Utah Loses PornHub Access, Data Shows


Julianna Frieman Contributor
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Search volume for the term Virtual Private Networks (VPN) soared in Utah after the state lost access to PornHub, according to data from Google Trends.

Search data from Google Trends shows Utahan’s apparent increased interest in VPNs after the pornography website blocked residents in the state from accessing its videos May 1. Two different heat maps from the month of March and May 2 demonstrate the change in Utah compared to the rest of the country, according to the Cultural Currents Institute.

The May 2 match shows Utah as the highest of all states at 100 search volume for VPNs, according to the Institute. New York and Virginia came in second at 45 search volume for VPNs on May 2. The March map shows Utah at 59 search volume for VPNs. (RELATED: Police Arrest Two Men For Allegedly Distributing Porn Cards Around Utah Tech Campus)

VPNs are used to anonymously connect users to websites by hiding their public IP address. The tool prevents users’ activity from being tracked and protects user data.

VPNs can be used to trick public networks into thinking content is being accessed from elsewhere, making it seem as though Utah’s surge in VPN searches is attributed to state residents attempting to circumvent the blockage, the Institute reported.

PornHub completely disabled access to its website in Utah after Senate Bill 287 unanimously passed in the state, requiring websites hosting adult content verify the age of their users.

“We believe that the best and most effective solution for protecting children and adults alike is to identify users by their device and allow access to age-restricted materials and websites based on that identification,” adult performer Cherie DeVille says in a video that will now play when Utah residents try to access the site, according to Vice. “Until a real solution is offered, we have made the difficult decision to completely disable access to our website in Utah.”