This Nightmare Law Would Block Porn on All Connected Devices and Make You Pay to Unblock It

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By William Hicks | 12:24 pm, April 21, 2017
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There’s a new bill gaining steam with puritanical state legislators and nanny state Republicans—and it’s probably one of the most stupid, misguided attempts to censor the Internet in recent memory. In an effort to stop people from watching porn, the bill would cause a regulatory nightmare for tech manufacturers, retailers, websites, consumers and even state regulators. All this hassle because one guy had a porn addiction and wanted everyone to pay for it.

The Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Prevention Act is a draft bill in 13 state legislatures but has nothing to do with human trafficking or child exploitation.  While the bill is slightly different in each state, the model legislation these bills are based on would would require all Internet-connected devices, like computers, smart phones, tablets and smart TVs, to come installed with a filter that would block access to online pornography.

You can only remove the filter by going to a retailer and paying a $20 tax, but first you would have to make a written request asking to remove the filter. Then you would have to receive reading material explaining the dangers of pornography and removing the porn filter. Then you would have to confirm you received the reading material. Then you would pay the $20 to the state, but the retailer may charge additional fees. These fees could add up significantly if a consumer is forced to unlock every device and router in their household.

Simple as pie, right?

The legislation claims to be a solution to a range of societal ills. On the bill’s website it says the bill would “reduces crime by making prostitution hubs, child pornography, revenge pornography, and obscenity, as defined under the existing obscenity code, more inconvenient to access.”

Manufacturers of Internet devices would have to be sure their filters did not let any pornographic images in and could be liable if anything gets through. They would also be on the hook if someone used their products to access child pornography or prostitution services. These companies are expected to operate reporting services where consumers could report any vulnerabilities in their filter. Presumably the cost of operating these services would be passed on to the consumer.

Social media sites would be exempt from getting blocked as long as they moderate their content and allow users to report obscenities found on the site for removal. Obscenity laws vary by state and can be quite complicated. The bill does not specifically state how it would handle large social media sites like Reddit and Twitter that allow pornography to be posted alongside regular content.

There are scant specifics about the actual filter that would be used. Internet filters are notorious for overreaching and blocking harmless sites arbitrarily. They also are fairly easy to bypass, as any trouble-making middle schooler knows. And child pornography is often found and traded on dark corners of the web not accessible on standard browsers. It is unlikely the filter would be sophisticated enough to be able to prevent downloads of child porn at obscure Tor addresses.

The man behind the bill is way more of a freak than the porn he’s trying to block. Chris Savier is a homophobic, anti-porn crusader and EDM DJ who once tried to legally marry his porn-filled macbook to protest gay marriage.

Here’s a fun excerpt from his court filing:

Recently, I purchased an Apple computer. The computer was sold to me without filters to block out pornography. I was not provided with any warning by Apple that pornography was highly addictive and could alter my reward cycle by the manufacturer. Over time, I began preferring sex with my computer over sex with real women. Naturally, I ‘fell in love’ with my computer and preferred having sex with it over all other persons or things, as a result of classic conditioning upon orgasm.

And he’s also a huge piece of shit. According to The Daily Beast, Savier was charged with stalking and harassing country music star John Rich and a 17-year-old girl. There’s a warrant out for his arrest in Tennessee for failing to pay child support and breaking a restraining order against his ex-wife. The restraining order was drawn after Savier was convicted of assaulting his father-in-law over a dispute about visitation rights. The altercation resulted in his seven-month-old son getting injured and taken to the ER.

Savier even sued Apple, claiming that their products ruined his marriage because his Macbook did not include porn filters, which resulted in him getting him addicted to pornography.

“The Plaintiff began desiring, younger more beautiful girls featured in porn videos than his wife, who was no longer 21,” the complaint said.

So this is the guy that wants to protect the nation’s children from the evils of pornography. Great….

This bill comes on the heels of Utah’s anti-porn hysteria, declaring porn a “public health crisis.” Their state legislatures even proposed a bill that would allow porn addicts to sue porn distributors, similar to how ailing smokers sued tobacco companies.

If the Human Trafficking Prevention Act goes through in any state, it would be an enormous pain in the ass for manufacturers, websites, retailers and consumers. Companies would have to drastically change the way they do business just to conform to the cockamamy laws of one state.

The Pandora’s box of pornography has already been open for some time and nothing can and should be done to stop its mass accessibility and proliferation. It’s up to parents, not the government to keep porn away from children and as for adults like Savier; learn some self control.

Follow me on Twitter @William__Hicks

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