Lawmakers in South Carolina are mulling over banning the sale of computers, tablets and phones unless they have a device that automatically blocks pornography from popping up on-screen.
The Human Trafficking Prevention Act amendment, introduced by State Representative Bill Chumley (R‑Spartanburg), calls for manufacturers and resellers to be fined if they sell an internet-connected product in the US state without a filter capable of stopping smut from appearing by default. The proposed stiff rules, drawn up late last week, follow a crackdown in the state on human trafficking in 2015.
"It's where almost everybody has access to a computer now. It's porn on demand," Chumley told the Spartanburg Herald Journal over the weekend. "We have to start somewhere ... we're bringing attention to it. We're not being political. It's an issue I'm pretty passionate about."
As ever with these kinds of bills, the exact nature of the blocking device isn't specified. Instead, it's presumably up to the technology industry to pull such a gadget out of a hat. It must work to politicians' satisfaction and it can't be overcome by the owner of the computer.
There is, however, a caveat. The horny-handed sons and daughters in South Carolina will still be able to get their grumble flicks on demand, so long as they pay a $20 charge for permission to do so and can prove they are of adult age.
"If an end user buys an apparatus, a computer, and they want access to that, they would have to pay to have that filter removed," Chumley said.
The funds will be used by the South Carolina Attorney General's office's human trafficking task force to try to rescue victims of the trade. The state is a hub for human traffickers due to its interstate connections and two of the state's cities are in the top 20 of trafficking hotspots.
Quite how blocking his constituents' access to online X-rated filth is going to help this isn't clear, and may not be popular. According to PornHub, the Sandlapper state's smut watchers spend on average 10 minutes 32 seconds visiting the site each, er, session – the third longest of any state – and they might get peeved if their viewing is curtailed.
The hardline anti-porno bill will be scrutinized by the state's House Judiciary Committee before going any further. ®