Web Searches For ‘VPN’ Surge After Pornhub Access Blocked

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Fiona McLoughlin Contributor
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Google searches for VPNs skyrocketed in Texas after Pornhub disabled access in the state Thursday, according to multiple reports.

People have begun searching for virtual private networks (VPNs) after Pornhub blocked access to Texas users in compliance with the state’s age-verification law, which requires pornographic sites to include measures to ensure only those 18 and older are using the website, according to Variety. VPNs create an encrypted connection between the internet and a user, allowing the user to hide their location and make it seem like they’re accessing the internet from another state or country, the outlet noted.

Twenty metro areas in Texas were tracked by Google, showing the increase in searches, Variety reported. Of those areas, Dallas – Ft. Worth, Houston, Austin, Waco-Temple-Bryan, and San Antonio had the highest searches for VPNs in the last week.

The search for VPNs increased by over 1,500 percent since the blocking, according to SlashGear. Proton VPN, a popular network, saw a search increase of 4,750 percent, the outlet noted. SlashGear also found an increase in the searches “Texas VPN,” “Pornhub blocked,” and “Pornhub shutdown.” They reported searches of “Is porn banned in Texas” and “How to verify age on Pornhub” increased by over 3,000 percent.

The porn site became inaccessible in Texas due to the new state law, House Bill 1181, according to Texas Scorecard. The bill requires porn websites to include methods to verify the age of users before they access the online content. Those violating the law can face fines of $10,000 daily, the outlet noted. (RELATED: New State Law Requires Government-Issued ID To Watch Porn).

“We have made the difficult decision to completely disable access to our website in Texas,” a letter from Pornhub stated. “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.”

Texas is not the only state to pass age-verification laws, Texas Scorecard noted. The others include Louisiana, Montana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Utah, Arkansas, and Virginia.