The XX Factor

South Carolina Bill Would Make All Computers Come With Porn Blockers

“Yes, and I’d like the nudie-people version, please.”

A state legislator in South Carolina is hoping a one-time tax on porn consumption will dissuade grown-up residents from watching people have sex on their computers.

The proposed bill, prefiled for the legislative session that will begin in the new year, would require all South Carolina manufacturers and sellers of computers and other internet-capable devices to install porn-blocking software on all their products. If vendors or customers wants to remove the filters, they’d have to pay a one-time $20 fee per device. The money would go toward the anti-sex trafficking efforts of South Carolina’s attorney general.

State Rep. Bill Chumley, who filed the bill, claims the blocker would prevent children from accessing obscene material and protect them from exploitation. The so-called Human Trafficking Prevention Act would also require the filter to thwart access to sites the state determines could be used to allow people to buy and sell sexual services. Manufacturers or sellers that produced a device without the porn-blocker would be fined, and consumers who wanted to pay to remove the blocker would have to confirm that were 18 years or over.

“It’s where almost everybody has access to a computer now. It’s porn on demand,” Chumley told GoUpstate. “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.”

Some may wonder if Chumley doth protest too much. State-sponsored censorship of publicly accessible information is a dangerous road to legislate down, and porn filters are a notoriously futile endeavor, making his bill more radical public statement than public safety benefit. Like Utah’s nonbinding resolution calling porn a “public health crisis,” which unanimously passed the state legislature earlier this year, Chumley’s proposal is just a way to shame people for doing a normal adult thing by making them admit to the government that they are sexual beings. No word yet on what Chumley would do with his list of all South Carolinians who want to look at naked people online.