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Bill Aims To Add Porn-Blocking Software To Computer, With $20 Fee To Have It Removed

Legislators in South Carolina are set to debate a bill that would require computer manufacturers to install software that would block users from accessing pornographic content.

State Rep. Bill Chumley, a Republican from Spartanburg, pre-filed the legislation earlier this month, according to The Herald-Journal of Spartanburg.

“If we could have manufacturers install filters that would be shipped to South Carolina, then anything that children have access on for pornography would be blocked,” said Chumley. “We felt like that would be another way to fight human trafficking.”

Sellers and manufacturers would be compelled to install digital-blocking capabilities on every piece of electronic equipment with internet capacity, or else be forced to pay a fine for each device sold.

The sellers can opt-out of the requirement by paying $20 for every device, and same goes for consumers, who can also pay $20 to have the porn-blocking filter removed after the purchase.

The collected fees would go toward the Attorney General’s task force on human trafficking, reports The Associated Press.

The proposed bill would also forbid access to any online websites that facilitate prostitution, and would require manufacturers to block sites that organize human trafficking.

How exactly a manufacturer would be able to comply is not yet known.

Josh Blackman, an associate professor at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, feels this is unconstitutional and compared it to another famous court case.

“In Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, the Supreme Court held that California could not prohibit the sale of violent video games to minors. That law was overbroad, and violated the freedom of speech,” Blackman told The Daily Caller News Foundation (TheDCNF).

The proposed law mentioned here “is even more overbroad, and by default, censors the sort of information adults can access unless they pay a fine. Even though the government does have the power to regulate “obscene” content–which is different from pornography — imposing a filter would sweep in a lot of constitutionally protected speech,” Blackman continued.

Chumley feels this type of legislation is a small step in the right direction.

“It’s where almost everybody has access to a computer now. It’s porn on demand,” Chumley told The Herald-Journal of Spartanburg. “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.”

Chumley added a section to the bill mandating that a system be in place for consumers to report any sort of obscene content that isn’t filtered.

Blackman says Chumley’s bill is a type of governance that is not American.

“This is the sort of authoritarian regime more at home in North Korea than South Carolina,” he concluded.

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