X

Age Verification Law in Texas [2024 updated]

We’ve covered the new age verification law passed on 28th of April 2024 by the Texas state and shared the concrete steps to build identity verification procedure.

New Texas age verification law guide in 2024.

Texas’s new age verification law focuses on minors’ protection from adult content. The law provides several measures organizations must put in real life to restrict the consumption of pornographic content by minors, for example, making it illegal for children to be forcefully exposed to adult/pornographic content.

On average, tweens (age 8 -12) and teens (age 13- 18) spend an average of 5 hours and 8 hours, respectively, on social media. This means minors spend most of their time digitally with only weak or no restrictions on accessing adult-related sites/content.

In this article, we will digest how the new age verification law helps protect minors digitally and the penalties involved.

Texas HB 1181 explained

The Texas House Bill 1181 was controversial before it was finally made effective on September 1st, 2023.

Before it became effective, the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) filed a lawsuit against the bill, arguing that it violates the First Amendment. The FSC, the body representing the Adult company, insisted that the bill’s requirements for age verification imposed unjustified restrictions on free speech and hindered adults’ access to lawful adult content.

Despite these arguments, the bill was enacted on September 1st to protect minors from accessing harmful sexual materials on the internet and provide penalties for companies that don’t comply.

Prior to the Texas House Bill, website operators had little incentive to implement stringent age verification measures under previous regulations. Compliance with basic legal standards was often enough to avoid penalties, and the cost and complexity of implementing more robust systems were seen as unnecessary burdens. As a result, many sites opted for the easiest path, leaving significant gaps in protection.

The Texas HB fixes all this to maximally protect minors and also forces adult websites to set up adequate standards to ensure compliance. Failure to do so will result in facing the wrath of the law.

The Requirements of HB 1181

The Texas House Bill 1181 prioritizes the safety of minors from the issues that arise from exposure to adult content. 

Robust Age Verification Measures: The bill requires a well-structured approach to ensure every user’s age is legally verified. This is ensured by requiring government IDs or commercial transactional documents that prove the user’s age. Rather than the old way of signing up and choosing unverified dates, this new method ensures every user is older than 18 and aware of their decision.

Compelled Speech and Health Warnings: The bill also requires companies or websites with sexual content to display authorized warnings that reflect the danger of the adult content the user is about to watch.

Free Helpline Display: The bill also requires companies or websites to display a free helpline that users suffering from mental health or substance use disorders can contact.

How to Comply with the Texas HB 1181 Law

Several companies have already shut off their services from being accessible to people in Texas due to not being able to comply with the law. With the correct procedure, the changes will make customers more satisfied, not less.

Implement Robust Verification Models: The bill requires age verification using government ID cards or commercial transactional documents that can validate the user’s age. Companies that want to comply without losing users can partner with the right identity verification solution. We have covered 5 best KYC providers in 2024, each offering age verification. The customer’s age will be extracted from the document, and in cases where the user is underage or uses a fake document – the system will flag such cases and won’t be boarded by any means. The age verification process has already been effectively implemented by many sectors: online gaming, financial institutions, cryptocurrency exchanges, etc.

Ensure Data Security: Companies that want to comply with the new age verification law must improve their data security because any database breach makes their user vulnerable to cyber attacks. To stay safe, companies must ensure strong data encryption, only collect needed data, empower their workforce to understand data security and management and conduct regular audits. Also, the identity verification vendor has to offer a data deletion procedure and specify the data retention policy.

Communicate New Policies to Your Audience: Users who need help knowing what is happening might get confused with your new policies for age verification. You have to communicate your recent updates to your users effectively. It could be an on-page ad, mail, or any medium to reach your users. 

Effect of Non-Compliance with the HB 1181 Law

The law has clearly stated that companies or websites found guilty of this offense would be subjected to pay an amount of $10,000 per day or per instance, depending on the scenario of how the law is being breached. It could be as extreme as paying a sum not more than $250,000 if a company violates the age verification law and one or more minors are able to access harmful sexual materials.

Click here to book a demo to implement an age verification solution.

Frequently asked questions

1

What is age verification?

Arrow

Age validation is a process where an identity verification method is utilized to retrieve the person’s age and ensure that the document is legitimate and not forged. A photo from the document that matches the selfie is also required. Otherwise, the age validation cannot be trusted.

2

What states require age verification?

Arrow
3

How can we implement age verification in Texas?

Arrow

Save costs by onboarding more verified users

Join hundreds of businesses that successfully integrated iDenfy in their processes and saved money on failed verifications.