Sunday, March 18, 2018
Some states want to put mandatory filters on all Internet devices sold in their states with a registry of those who unblock; Hollywood seems to up threats on all user content
Wired has an important story on states considering their own variations of the Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Prevention Act (HTCEPA), by requiring every device sold in their states to have porn filters! Right now, the dishonor roll includes Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Texas. Similar bills are considered in the UK. (I couldn't find this act in Wikipedia.)
Users could pay a fee to remove the filters but then the states would have a registry of users who had.
Wired's story, by Louise Matsakis on this, where she traces the laws back to the original Communications Decency Act of 1996, largely overturned; and the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), which has been the main subject of this particular blog. The filter issue came up in the COPA litigation, particularly at the trial I covered here in 2006.
Ironically it is Section 230 of the original 1996 law that survived and that is now threatened by FOSTA and SESTA as covered here before. This article mentions these, and notes the lack of distinction between consensual adult sex and trafficking (which often involves minors). The article’s comments on these are a little overbroad (it’s more than “social media sites” though).
Recently, Congress has gotten some letters actually supportive of SESTA/FOSTA from Hollywood (Fox) and some parts of Tech (Oracle). I’ll get into these again, but there is a disturbing undertone to these letters: there is no reason users should be able to post to the whole planet at will without gatekeepers unless they give something back (like help fight trafficking, or volunteer in some intersectional way). That really isn’t what Senator Portman thinks SESTA says; he still says it is narrow.