Just when you thought lawmakers can’t be any more out of touch with the cybers, a South Carolina representative comes along to lower the bar of technological competence.

As GoUpstate reports, State Rep. Bill Chumley, R-Spartanburg, pre-filed the “Human Trafficking Prevention Act” before the Christmas break. The bill would install a porn blocker on any internet-capable device, and uesrs would have to pay $20 to remove the filter if they want to see naughty things.

The ransomware bill is misleadingly titled the Human Trafficking Prevention Act because money collected from fees and fines would go towards the state’s human trafficking taskforce. “The human trafficking thing has exploded. It’s gotten to be a real problem,” Chumley told GoUpstate.

If devices are sold in South Carolina without a porn blocker, the retailers or manufacturers will ahve to pay a $20 fine to the state. Given the technological problems with trying to install any kind of realistic porn blocker on a computer (reinstalling Windows really isn’t that hard!), a cynic would say that South Carolina is just trying to impose a $20 tax on the sale of electronic devices.

Aside from the many logistical and technical challenges with trying to get all manufacturers to install device-level internet filtering, and the fact that South Carolina is in a free-trade zone with 49 non-porn-blocking states, there’s also Constitutional implications. Device-level blocking that requires a fee to unlock is the virtual definition of a First Amendment violation, something that Chumley has failed to address so far.

In fact, Chumley seemed to ignore all criticisms, and in his interview with GoUpstate, he was really just keen to talk about how it’s all for the children. “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,” Chumley said. “We felt like that would be another way to fight human trafficking.”

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