South Carolina lawmakers propose pornography block on new computers


#1

Computers and devices sold in South Carolina that can access the internet would be required to have filters installed to prevent people from viewing pornography, although buyers could pay a $20 fee to remove the blocking software under a proposal before the legislature.

The amendment would require manufacturers or sellers of computers and internet-accessible devices to install software that blocks pornography, according to a draft of the amendment filed with the South Carolina General Assembly on Dec. 15.

One of its sponsors said on Tuesday the amendment would help raise money for the state’s task force to combat human trafficking, adding that the measure would not restrict their legal liberties, indicating it would allow for viewing adult pornography.

mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN149251


#2

An interesting approach. Though it seems like a slippery slope.


#3

It sounds like just another way for the government to collect fees, and encourage a black market for unblocking devices. They can say the fee will go to fight human trafficking, but I would not be surprised to see it end up in the general fund. Depending on the kind of filter used, people may want to unblock their phone just to avoid false positives in the filter.


#4

This is stupid. It’s a bill written by people who have never used a computer. This would go down in history as the least enforceable law ever passed.

I get what they’re trying to do: impose a sin tax. I’m annoyed, but not outraged. I don’t believe this is the way to go about it (or that there is even a way to go about it). Given the legal status of porn, it’s speech, not a vice. This will just be a costly (losing) legal battle. And this is all serious invasion of privacy issues aside. Privacy alone is :eek:


#5

Good points. The courts are going to toss this.


#6

My philosophy with tech is that if the NSA can do it, a Russian criminal on the deep web can do it. And if he can do it, a nerd with too much time on his hands and a burning desire to be a YouTube personality can do it. And if he can do it, then certainly, I can watch his video and learn.

No one would ever pay a cent for the privilege of telling a 19 year old geek squader that they’d like to go home and watch porn. It would be hacked and public knowledge 20 minutes after first sale.


#7

Not as unenforceable as the sodomy laws. Although I suppose it could be prohibitively expensive for the state of SC to buy CovenantEyes for every computer in SC.

I get what they’re trying to do: impose a sin tax. I’m annoyed, but not outraged. I don’t believe this is the way to go about it (or that there is even a way to go about it).

A sin tax would only work if most people agreed it was a sin. :rolleyes:

Given the legal status of porn, it’s speech, not a vice.

Speech is usually used to say something. Most I gather from porn is moaning and expletives. Not to say that automatically, therefore, if it’s not free speech, it is only a vice.

This will just be a costly (losing) legal battle. And this is all serious invasion of privacy issues aside. Privacy alone is :eek:

I’m no lawyer - and AFAIK neither are you - but I don’t see it as impossible to argue as something like a television license or a car license. You gotta be this old to see porn on the Internet - unless your parents let you. I can see that.


#8

I believe, First Amendment issues aside, this would likely be unconstitutional under the Interstate Commerce Clause, which would reserve this type of regulation to the federal government, as opposed to the states.

In essence, this asks computer manufacturers to make special “South Carolina computers”. The reasoning is you don’t want 50 states demanding special modifications to a product particular to that state. For example, imagine if canned food manufacturers had to comply with 50 different food labeling requirements. State A requires calorie counts in 12-point bold black font; State B requires fat content in red, etc., etc. So, you have one national standard.


#9

And defining pornography would be difficult. People in the medical fields, both human and animal, use terms that might fall under those definitions. Would someone looking up cancers not be able to get information because the diagrams/pictures included naked bodies? What about artwork, some of which is owned by th Vatican? Some of it, especially of Hades, is pretty graphic. Then there are novels and non-fiction works that use words some consider bad words, depending on the context. Livestock queries could also be a problem, even looking for a dog.


#10

Coming soon

South Carolina passes new law requiring that the limbs of all pianos in public spaces be covered.

 In their continuing effort to protect the citizens of South Carolina, the lawmakers passed a law requiring any piano that is in a location accessed by the public must be hidden from public view.  Pianos in private residences are excluded as long as they are not being used for social, fund-raising, or business functions.  It is hoped that private piano owners will choose to do the proper thing and voluntarily cover piano limbs, thereby shielding others from such a scandalous sight.

#11

How about an anti-racism and homophobia blocker? Or anti-blasphemy (insulting the Koran)? In the current climate that may be coming down the pike.
Once you put a weapon in the government’s hand beware that it won’t be used on you next.


#12

Absolutely not!

Limiting access of pornography for minors is a noble venture, but this is not the way to do it.

I always thought that limiting pornographic sites to a .xxx top level domain would have done a world of good, because it would have made it trivially easy to block. Instead, they’re on .com and the other regular site TLDs, which makes them much harder to block. And no, discerning which sites are pornographic and which are not is not a difficult task. There are even legal requirements, distinctions and statements those organizations need to make.

Nobody is saying we should block access to photos of the Sistine Chapel, Greek statues or even Victoria’s Secret catalogs. We are talking about easily identifiable hardcore porn here.

But a required software filter and fee on new computers is definitely not the way to go!


#13

I think this is an excellent idea and very much needed. (Except for the paying a fee to remove it, that would be a silly idea I think, there are many more practical ways of going about this I believe)

New computers should come with this kind of software pre-installed and running, and if an adult doesn’t want it, they can just remove it (Or turn it off), but it needs to be in place for the many naïve parents who buy their kid a computer or IPhone with internet connectivity and have no filter on there.

They also have to have a fair idea what they are doing, as there are many ways around a filter and often kids are smarter than their parents when it comes to electronic devices. If it’s a poor filter (easy to get around) than it will be just a big waste of everyone’s time and money, because a kid will just google “How to turn off X filter” and then it will be useless.

I use K9 Web Protection, and it simply blocks pornography and proxy browsers, proxy browsers are a way to bypass a filter.

Microsoft could also simply have ‘family safety’ set as ‘on’ by default, which adults can simply turn off (I don’t think their ‘family safety’ software is very good though).

I hope this has helped

God Bless

Thank you for reading
Josh


#14

That’s a good point, which is why I would recommend a filter pre-installed and ‘on’ by default, but one that can be turned off by the adult purchaser (Who would be given the password for it when they buy), in order to protect kids.

I hope this has helped

God Bless

Thank you for reading
Josh


#15

I agree with a lot of this, but a filter blocking pronography on new computers and electronic devices I think would definitely be the way to go, just have it set as ‘on’ by default, the adult purchaser has the password so they can turn it off or edit it if they wish.

I disagree with the additional fee though. There are many software companies that could take a better initiative in this and K9 Web Protection is free.

Such filters may not block all pornography, but it will block most and go a long way in protecting kids I believe.

I hope this has helped

God Bless

Thank you for reading
Josh


#16

That would be a problem, they would need people on board who know a bit about computers and it wouldn’t be perfect, but it would still help a lot when it comes to naïve parents buying their kids electronic devices.

I think they are really just trying to protect kids, but they don’t know or can’t think of a better way to do it, like you said, they probably don’t know a great deal about computers.

I think there is definitely a way to go about it, and that it is very much needed, just need people like yourself giving some better ideas so that they don’t try to implement something silly like a tax. :wink:

I hope this has helped

God Bless

Thank you for reading
Josh


#17

K9 Web Protection has two separate categories ‘Pornography’ and ‘Nudity’ so the other things you describe here I believe would fall under ‘Nudity’ and not pornography and thus not blocked by the filter, and even if it were, if it’s an editable filter by the Adult purchaser, it would still work out. There just needs to be one there and on by default I believe so that kids getting electronic devices from naïve parents can be better protected.

I hope this has helped

God Bless

Thank you for reading
Josh


#18

So you believe in the government controlling what you can and can not see, can and can not read?


#19

I agree it should be required to be on .xxx. It isn’t hard to require this. Our government will go to great lengths to regulate everything except this. That fact should be concerning but also instructive.


#20

I am a computer professional, and though I have not seen how this anti-porn measure will be implemented, I’ll bet you Dollars-to-Donuts any junior high-schooler could get past it. There are plenty of resources on the 'Net on how to get by these sort of things.

As an aside, I don’t thing this law would stand Constitutional muster. For better or worse, pornography is not illegal and the government has no business telling people what they can and cannot view on the internet.

If this is a well-intentioned effort to protect children, then that is the parents’ repsonsibility; not the states. And like I said, most kids are smarter than their parents when it comes to computers anyhow so I don’t think it would do that much good. :rolleyes:


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