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Age verification for adult web sites advances in Florida House


A bill that would require people to verify their age before accessing online content that would be “harmful to minors” began advancing in the Florida House, as Speaker Paul Renner has made the proposal a legislative priority.

The bill (HB 3) would require any company that “knowingly and intentionally publishes or distributes material harmful to minors on a website or application” to use “reasonable age verification methods” to prove that people accessing the site are at least 18 years old.

Under the measure unanimously supported by the House Regulatory Reform and Economic Development Subcommittee Thursday, age verifications would have to be performed by a third party not affiliated with the company.

Rep. Chase Tramont, R-Port Orange, said websites that display harmful content frequently do not discern the ages of people who are accessing them.

“The problem today is that most websites and apps assume everyone to be an adult, which means that children can easily access adult content,” Tramont said in a prepared statement.

The measure also would allow parents and others acting on behalf of a minor to sue and seek damages up to $10,000 from companies that fail to block young people from accessing such websites.

The state Department of Legal Affairs also could fine companies up to $50,000 for violations of the measure.

Renner has pointed to negative mental health effects in young people as a result of accessing online adult content and using social-media media websites.

“We are losing our children to social media and adult content websites. We have to give parents a fighting chance against these tech companies that prey on our kids to pad their profit margins,” Renner said in a statement.
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News Service of Florida
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