Utah’s Age Verification Law Stands, FSC Plans Appeal

In an unexpected development earlier today, the United States District Court sided with Utah, dismissing the Free Speech Coalition's (FSC) legal challenge to the state's age verification mandate. Despite the setback, the FSC has made it clear they will continue the fight on appeal. The court declared state officials immune from the lawsuit initiated by the Plaintiffs, who argued the officials lacked the necessary authority to implement the age verification mandate. Undeterred, the FSC has announced intentions to contest this ruling. Under Utah's newly established law, websites must confirm users' identities through a yet-to-be-introduced state digital ID or by partnering with data brokers. This far-reaching legislation, which mandates verification of all site visitors' age and identity, has raised significant privacy concerns among consumers, technology groups, and the adult industry. FSC Executive Director, Alison Boden, remained resolute:
"Utah's attempts to sidestep responsibility for a precarious law enacted by its legislature won't be overlooked. This law, without a doubt, is unconstitutional. As evidenced by other attacks on free speech, such as the 'Don't Say Gay Bill' and the Texas Heartbeat Act, states are increasingly trying to circumvent the First Amendment by delegating censorship responsibilities to their citizens. This new method is profoundly flawed. The Constitution and numerous legal precedents forbid government efforts to suppress speech, regardless of how they're executed. "The fight against this law as a preemptive challenge — rather than awaiting a case to be filed against one of FSC's members — was always going to be a tough climb. However, given the chilling impact of this law, it's an essential fight. While Utah has momentarily hindered our challenge, we take solace in the Court's recognition of the constitutional concerns provoked by the law, and eagerly await the opportunity to argue our case at the appellate level. "The government cannot, and should not, barricade the internet when less restrictive methods of safeguarding minors are available, as per the Supreme Court."
FSC has also initiated legal action against Louisiana over its age verification law. The state's Attorney General's direct involvement in law enforcement allows the state to file civil lawsuits against websites, eliminating many concerns raised in the Utah case.
  • You can follow the FSC on Twitter at @fscarmy.

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