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Lawmaker: New Laptops, Phones Must Block Porn

Kansas legislator's proposed bill runs into free-speech criticism
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2019 8:06 AM CST
   (Getty/Scyther5)

(Newser) – A state legislator in Kansas has generated controversy with a proposed new law: He wants all computers and phones sold in the state to block pornography by default, reports the Topeka Capital-Journal. Under Republican Randy Garber's bill in the House, any business that sells the devices must first install filters to block obscene material. Adults could opt out by paying a $20 fee to have them removed, on top of whatever the seller charged. Nobody under 18 could have the filters removed, however. "What it would do is any X-rated pornography stuff would be filtered. It would be on all purchases going forward," says Garber. "Why wouldn’t anybody like this?"

Critics, though, say it's dangerous to have the government or businesses dictating what people can and can't see online. "As well intentioned as the bill might be, I would not trade my right to privacy for a mandatory restriction of allegedly pornographic communications that can be dealt with on an individual basis by parents," says a Democratic state lawmaker, per the Wichita Eagle. Garber says any money raised by his legislation—he also wants to impose a $3 fee to enter adult-themed businesses—would go to fight human trafficking. Other states are considering similar laws under a movement pushed by the group Special Forces of Liberty. (Arizona lawmakers see online porn as a "public health crisis.")

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