Age Verification Bills Advance in Georgia and Illinois

ATLANTA/SPRINGFIELD, Ill.—State lawmakers in Georgia and Illinois have advanced age verification bills that can be considered "copycat" proposals to the age verification laws adopted in Louisiana and other states since the start of 2023.

In Georgia, House Bill (HB) 910 is currently before the state Senate after the Republican Party-controlled House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of the measure. According to the text of the bill, adult platforms will be regulated through the adoption of "reasonable" age verification measures or through the adoption of the state's digital ID. The digital ID option emulates the Louisiana digital wallet option built into the age verification law adopted by the state legislature there and signed into law.

Georgia's digital wallet service was developed by Idemia and serves as a legal form of identification for driver's licenses. LA Wallet, the mobile wallet for Louisiana, was developed by controversial age verification software developer Envoc. LA Wallet suffered a data breach in the summer of 2023 when its internal systems, using the secure file transfer service MOVEit, were hacked. This led to the exposure of over 6 million sensitive personal records retained by the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles. The breach underscores the safety dangers about which industry advocates have warned in their efforts to combat ID-based age verification measures. Aylo, the parent company of Pornhub, adopted a "reasonable" integration with the Envoc-developed LA Wallet months before the OMV data breach.

Georgia's bill provides options for the government-backed digital ID option or for commercial options like age estimation measures.

Right now, HB 910 is before the Senate floor on second reading. This means it will be subject to a floor debate. It is possible that the bill could be signed into law if advanced by the Senate to Gov. Brian Kemp.

In Illinois, the conservative-leaning news wire service The Center Square reports that a Republican lawmaker has introduced an age verification bill. A few Democrats have signed on to Senate Bill (SB) 2590.

Unlike the state of Georgia, Illinois has long been under the grip of Democrats, who have rarely introduced age verification bills.

"As written, it wouldn’t need to be a government-issued ID; it would allow for other age-verification methods,” said state Rep. Erica Harriss of Glen Carbon, the main sponsor, in a press statement quoted by The Center Square. SB 2590 has yet to see official action.