Florida Bill Bans Mobile Porn Unless You Pay Extra

The geniuses in Florida have come up with a bill to require mobile phone manufacturers to put a porn filter on all devices sold in the state. These “pornography vending machines in need of regulation” are causing a great deal of distress to some legislators who have nothing better to do. Their stated goal is to prevent child pornography, human trafficking, and to protect children from seeing inappropriate content.

Manufacturers would not only be required to create the filters, but they would also be responsible for determining what content is appropriate. At that point, we expect all of them to Google “First Amendment” and refuse to do anything at all. To deactivate this filter, the customer would be required to make the request in writing, prove (s)he is over the age of 18, and pay a $20 deactivation fee. Those fees would then be used as grants for organizations that work towards preventing child exploitation and human trafficking.


Penalties include a first degree misdemeanor for selling a filter-less phone to an adult and a third degree felony for selling one to a minor. The bill was co-introduced by one Republican and two Democrats.

Obviously this flies all over the First Amendment and Freedom of Speech. Questions like this come up every time a public organization discusses filtering content. But actually writing it into the state law and forcing private companies to do it? What will they come up with next?

Do not get me wrong. I hate child exploitation and all of this just as much as anyone. But what I hate more is ridiculous government intrusion into every aspect of my life. I have a libertarian side that comes out every now and then, and this is one of those times. A law like this is completely unnecessary, will most likely be struck down by the courts, and will do nothing but be a waste of taxpayer dollars.

If it managed to pass muster somehow, I imagine many phone companies would just move out of the state rather than deal with the cumbersome nature of the law. Capitalism at its finest. Residents of Florida would then have to leave the state to make their purchases. In the end, the state would lose tax revenue rather than gain money from deactivation fees. That is a lose-lose scenario for the state and its residents.

What if we continue to allow people to make their own choices, and trust parents to monitor their children’s activity? What if government uses its resources to go after the producers of the content, rather than Tom and Linda Jones who just want to buy an iPhone without additional hassle? What if they quit inventing new and creative ways to tax us every time we turn around?

Besides, it wouldn’t take more than a few weeks before some basement-dwelling hacker figured out a way to unlock the filters. Come on, it’s 2017. Rather than write a letter, pay $20, and go through all of that, Tom and Linda could pay $5 to Anonymous69 and unlock their phone in two minutes. Because ‘Murica.

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