Pay your government to access porn says proposed South Carolina law

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Don’t call it a tax, call it a fee for pornography. And if you buy a computer of any sort that connects to the internet, — hello, smartphones, tablets and maybe even wearables — then you might have to pay up soon.

The South Carolina General Assembly is looking over a draft of a bill that would require device manufacturers and retailers to either install a filter program that blocked out pornography or pay $20 per unit without the filter — adults who desire to seek pornography on a filtered device would pay the government that fee to have it removed. Proceeds would go to a state task force battling against human trafficking.

Representative Mike Burns authored “The Human Trafficking Prevention Act,” which is on the agenda for the assembly for the coming year. He believes that watching pornography leads to a slippery slope of behavior that can turn criminal.

“If your device comes and it’s predisposed, first, to filter out this kind of stuff, you wouldn’t see some of the stuff that normally a kid or an adult could be able to see,” Burns said.

A bloc of upstate legislators have backed the bill, which is pre-filed, but not on the docket for the upcoming session.

“This is a way to preserve freedom, not raise taxes and combat a serious problem all in one,” said Representative Bill Chumley, one of the amendment’s supporters.

The filter would block out material dubbed obscene by state and federal definitions and would also have a flag-down system for people to use if they come across unblocked obscene material.

Burns and Chumley are both Republicans in the Republican-controlled Palmetto State. The national party issued a crusade against porn as part of its platform this year.

Pornography, with its harmful effects, especially on children, has become a public health crisis that is destroying the lives of millions […] We urge energetic prosecution of child pornography, which is closely linked to human trafficking.

Utah has deemed pornography a “public safety hazard.”

Opposition to the bill is pushing against what it considers an act of government overreach in terms of not only free speech, but also interstate commerce in imposing a burden not set by any other state or federally.

The government mandate of material filtering combined with the shaky definition of obscene subjects as well as the possibility for user-conspired abuse that would block otherwise “safe” subjects is also of concern.

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About The Author
Jules Wang
Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.