Utahns search for VPNs after Pornhub blocks adult content from the Beehive State

A new law requires adult websites to verify a Utahn’s age before letting them browse pornography, so now Utahns are searching for virtual private networks.

A screenshot taken from the Pornhub website shows a message and video to users located in Utah. The company says they have disabled access to users in Utah.

Who knew Newton’s third law, that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, extended online?

On Monday, Pornhub blocked Utahns from accessing its website in response to a new Utah law requiring adult websites to verify the age of visitors. In response, the number of Utahns searching for information on virtual private networks, or VPNs, has exploded. VPNs allow users to hide their location and other information, thus letting them circumvent geographic restrictions.

According to the Cultural Current Institute, Google search data shows a massive increase in searches for “VPN” since the Pornhub blockade was implemented. On Tuesday, Utah had the most VPN-related searches in the United States. Two months ago, the volume of searches on the subject from Utah was much smaller.

Not only are Utahns scrambling to mask their locations online, but at least one has taken their concerns to the bill’s sponsor.

Sen. Todd Weiler, who sponsored this year’s Online Pornography Viewing Age Requirements bill, said he received an angry, profanity-laced tirade from a Utah man who called to complain that he could no longer access Pornhub.

Pornhub’s reaction to Utah’s age verification mandate may be a glimpse into the near future. Lawmakers approved a similar age-verification rule for social media platforms to clamp down on their use by minors. Theoretically, those companies could implement a similar geographic restriction when the law goes into effect next March.