Hawaii The Latest To Push Bullshit Porn Filter Law Pushed By Sketchy Backers

from the round-and-round-we-go dept

For several years a man by the name of Chris Sevier has been waging a fairly facts-optional war on porn. Sevier first became famous for trying to marry his computer to protest same sex marriage a few years ago. He also tried to sue Apple after blaming the Cupertino giant for his own past porn addiction, and has gotten into trouble for allegedly stalking country star John Rich and a 17-year-old girl. Sevier has since been a cornerstone of an effort to pass truly awful porn filter legislation in nearly two dozen states under the disingenuous guise of combating human trafficking.

Dubbed the "Human Trafficking Prevention Act," all of the incarnations of the law would force ISPs to filter pornography and other "patently offensive material." The legislation would then force state residents interested in viewing porn to pony up a one-time $20 "digital access fee" to whitelist the internet's naughty bits for each internet-connected device in the home. The proposal is patently absurd, technically impossible to implement, and yet somehow these bills continue to get further than they ever should across a huge swath of the boob-phobic country.

Hawaii this week was the latest to take Sevier's unworkable draft legislation and turn it into unworkable real legislation. According to CNN, several incarnations of the bill have been proposed in the Hawaii legislature, after a similar measure failed to pass last year:

"It doesn't make sense for children to have to access to X-rated material on their cell phones," said Hawaiian State Sen. Mike Gabbard, who sponsored the Senate bill. He also introduced a similar bill during last year's legislative session. "By making it harder for people to access these porn sites, we can make prostitution hubs harder to access which will reduce sex trafficking," Gabbard said in an email to CNN."

Except the proposed legislation has nothing to do with human trafficking, something other states (like Rhode Island) discovered after they realized that the folks pushing these bills may not be, well, ethical. CNN doesn't even mention Sevier's checkered past, and also floats over the fact that these filters don't work, something anybody who actually understands technology already knows. Porn filters routinely not only wind up censoring legitimate content, but, when they work at all, they're usually easily bypassed by any nitwit with even a fraction of technical knowledge. That's oddly omitted from most of these stories.

Journalists writing about these porn filters often lose the forest for the trees in their coverage. The story isn't really about porn filters, though pointing out that porn filters don't work is certainly important. These stories are about how somebody with a terrible track record and zero meaningful expertise in either technology or law has been able to convince countless states to push ridiculous, unworkable, speech-stifling legislation in a country facing an ocean of more pressing problems.

Filed Under: chris sevier, hawaii, mike gabbard, porn filters


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 8 Feb 2019 @ 10:57am

    "It doesn't make sense for children to have to access to X-rated material on their cell phones," said Hawaiian State Sen. Mike Gabbard, who sponsored the Senate bill.

    It doesn't make sense that parents are not monitoring/restricting their children's access to x-rated material on their cell phones.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 8 Feb 2019 @ 11:07am

      Re:

      Just out of curiosity, how exactly would they go about doing that? As far as I'm aware, there's no tool I could use to reliably restrict my own phone from accessing pornography, let alone one in the physical possession of somebody else!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Baron von Robber, 8 Feb 2019 @ 11:42am

        Re: Re:

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2019 @ 12:26pm

        Re: Re:

        Agreed - where there is a will, there is a way.

        In addition, why are the parents enabling said child access to porn? All they need to do is not provide their offspring with cellphones.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Rocky, 8 Feb 2019 @ 1:36pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Most parents give their children a cellphone so they can keep tabs on them.

          If a minor want to find porn they will find porn even without a phone. Just as you say: where there is a will, there's a way

          Most minor gets an allowance and they most likely know someone older that can buy magazines for them for a fee.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2019 @ 1:53pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Of course minors will always find the porn, but it is the job of the adults not to enable this or other vices in any way.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Rocky, 8 Feb 2019 @ 2:06pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I think most parents prefer to be able to reach their kids and vice versa if something happens. Also good parenting includes teaching the kids what's right and wrong, and that also includes sex ed and how detached from reality porn is.

              I've seen parents protect their kinds in ad absurdum and in most cases when the kids moved out they did everything the parents had forbidden them to do or tolds them was bad when they grew up.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 8 Feb 2019 @ 5:02pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                My father (who was in the magazine business) gave me a very sagacious piece of advice about porn. He said, forget Playboy, read Cosmo, a little bit of mystery goes a long way. I was 12 or 13 at the time, at least as I remember it.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2019 @ 6:09am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "parents prefer to be able to reach their kids"

                How did the pilgrims ever survive ... When your kids do not want to be reached they still answer the phone? LOL - sure they do.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Rocky, 9 Feb 2019 @ 2:41pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  When your kids do not want to be reached they still answer the phone? LOL - sure they do.

                  Well, my kids HAS to answer the phone - because if they don't pick up, I lock down their phone and a siren is played endlessly until they answer.

                  I've only had to use it once before they got the hint that it's a smart thing to answer the phone when I call.

                  You where saying?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2019 @ 5:18pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    I was saying that not all children are as well behaved as your children apparently are. Stating the obvious, but I suppose.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Rocky, 10 Feb 2019 @ 2:49am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      But the point stands, unless you are a terrible parent you would like to be able to contact your kids.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 10 Feb 2019 @ 9:33am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    you sound like an awful parent and you'll probably die in the cheapest home your kids can put you in

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Rocky, 10 Feb 2019 @ 2:25pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Please define awful.

                      Or perhaps you mean awful in the sense that I care about my children, that I educate my children and that I keep up with what they are doing?

                      If you mean awful in that way I can only wonder what you consider is good parenting and the horrors you would inflict on children.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    btr1701 (profile), 12 Feb 2019 @ 11:36am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Well, my kids HAS to answer the phone - because if they don't pick up, I lock down their phone and a siren is played endlessly until they answer. I've only had to use it once before they got the hint that it's a smart thing to answer the phone when I call.

                    Easy to get around. Turn it completely off. Pull the battery. Leave it in the car. Etc.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Thad (profile), 11 Feb 2019 @ 8:03am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  How did the pilgrims ever survive ...

                  Well, the ones who died of polio didn't.

                  "The pilgrims didn't have this particular technology; therefore there's no need for it in 2019" is not especially good reasoning.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 11 Feb 2019 @ 7:56am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                GIve your kid a dumb phone. You can contact them. They can call their friends. But they have no real Internet access and can't get porn on a dumb phone. it may not be COOL, but hell I never had a cell phone growing up and got by just fine. Not like there were cell phones around as a kid. Well maybe there was, but they would have been big bulky analog cell phones that only the rich in some areas could use.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2019 @ 4:32pm

      Re:

      Children should not have access to cell phones that have the internet access PERIOD.

      But don't start banning porn for adults' use. That is wacky. Some real sqwooey ideas coming from those in charge of Hawaii.. they want to ban smoking anything on those islands too!! What's next? Pigs'rights over luaus?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2019 @ 4:52pm

        Re: Re:

        How about this one?: No Surfing toward shore with Sun in your eyes whether sunrise or sunset so you don't run into someone you can't see smoking a spleef!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2019 @ 10:58am

    Well if one supports FOSTA, they should also want porn banned from the internet. I could live with that, though anyone who wants their porn would have to go back to the old ways.

    Perhaps we should view defamation, copyright infringement, and sex trafficking as inherent security flaws in the internet which need to be addressed. It's also possible that anonymity is impossible because it causes these flaws.

    Right now, the status quo is against me on porn.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 8 Feb 2019 @ 11:12am

      Re:

      If you want to avoid porn, go right ahead. But do not think that your opinion should be that which runs everyone else’s life — I watch porn, for example, and I will be damned to Dante’s first through eighth Hells before you take my right to watch porn away from me.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        btr1701 (profile), 8 Feb 2019 @ 11:49am

        Re: Re:

        I've never understood the mindset

        "Because I don't like X, nobody should be able to see X."

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2019 @ 12:02pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The question is whether or not MINORS should have such easy access to porn. Oddly, the ruling that said they should was based on the logic that requiring filters would "break the internet."

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 8 Feb 2019 @ 12:27pm

            Filter anatomical terms such as “breast” and “penis”, and you will filter a lot of non-pornographic sites that mention breasts (e.g., medical sites that talk about breast cancer). Filter slang terms for body parts — “asshole”, “boob”, “dick”, you get the idea — and the same thing will happen. Filters often “break the Internet” because they fail to take context into account; no such filter is ever perfect in that way, even with human input.

            You are free to filter any device you own in any way you see fit. Applying your filter to the devices/connections of others, however, is a blatant attempt to make other people live by your opinions. That makes you a [filtered by TechDirtBot5000].

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2019 @ 1:53pm

              Re:

              When the "others" are minors who have access to porn, the public interest kicks in.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                btr1701 (profile), 8 Feb 2019 @ 2:16pm

                Re: Re:

                And isn't it always convenient that since we can't determine the age of the person using the device or the computer, the concern for minors always ends up censoring the freedoms of adults, too. (As if that wasn't the goal from the start.)

                Whenever someone trumpets self-righteously that "it's for the children!", I reflexively want to reach for my wallet or my gun because someone's about to try and take my money or my freedom (or both).

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 8 Feb 2019 @ 2:30pm

                When the "others" are minors who have access to porn, the public interest kicks in.

                So filter your own damn computer/tablet/phone/wi-fi connection. Your distaste for porn is no excuse to enforce your filters upon everyone else.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2019 @ 4:38pm

              Re:

              Just start calling a dick a schmoe.. and a vagina a cookie. What's the problem?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2019 @ 12:30pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The question is - why are you providing your children access to porn?

            If your children can get a job, earn enough to purchase their own cell phone and/or computer, why are you still trying to run their lives?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Rocky, 8 Feb 2019 @ 1:38pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The question is whether or not MINORS should have such easy access to porn. Oddly, the ruling that said they should was based on the logic that requiring filters would "break the internet."

            Well, it kinda does.. Just ask the residents of Scunthorpe. If you don't understand the reference, just search the internet for The Scunthorpe problem.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2019 @ 12:52pm

      Re:

      Perhaps we should view defamation, copyright infringement, and sex trafficking as inherent security flaws in the internet which need to be addressed

      And how do you propose to do that without bringing in all the worse aspect of a religious theocracy or total surveillance state.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rocky, 8 Feb 2019 @ 1:42pm

      Re:

      Perhaps we should view defamation, copyright infringement, and sex trafficking as inherent security flaws in the internet which need to be addressed. It's also possible that anonymity is impossible because it causes these flaws.

      Those are not a flaw with the internet, it's flaw in society.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2019 @ 1:52pm

        Re: Re:

        A flaw enabled by the internet.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 8 Feb 2019 @ 1:54pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          So's having to listen to you, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't have an Internet.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Rocky, 8 Feb 2019 @ 2:21pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          A flaw enabled by the internet.

          So you rather go after the symptom than the cause. We all know how well that works in the real world.

          Also, you have a very strange definition of security flaw and I don't think you understand what it means.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2019 @ 3:34pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          People shared music and porn on tapes long before the Internet. As for defamation, you would not have heard what people said about you in pubs and safes when you were not there.

          It not that the Internet has enabled anything, but rather made some things more visible.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2019 @ 4:40pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Porn has always been a FEATURE of the internet.Who are you trying to kid?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2019 @ 4:43pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            AND.. its those people who would rather watch two gorillas mating underwater than see a really erotic threesome that are the problem.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Feb 2019 @ 3:28pm

        Re: Re:

        Those are not a flaw with the internet, it's flaw in society.

        Please explain how porn is a flaw in society.

        Also, if you are to list them - please do so in priority. For example, one of the worst flaws in society is the propensity toward violence.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Rocky, 11 Feb 2019 @ 3:42am

          Re: Re: Re:

          It's not about porn per se, it's about the exploitation of people who are in a bad situation.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 11 Feb 2019 @ 7:59am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            That is a laughable statement. While some of that may be true, for many, they just love sex, and getting paid for something you LOVE is what most people would like to do.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2019 @ 4:34pm

      Re:

      Ok thank you Senator..

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2019 @ 11:10am

    Well

    Well Sen. Mike Gabbard:

    Those very same children have X-rated material in their very own pants/skirts/what-ever.

    Since that is much more accessible than a physical device (which could be taken away.... or never given) don't you think you should do something about that first?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 8 Feb 2019 @ 11:33am

      Re: Well

      Since that is much more accessible than a physical device (which could be taken away.... or never given) don't you think you should do something about that first?

      He's been trying to do something about that for twenty years.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Thad (profile), 8 Feb 2019 @ 11:30am

    I'm sure Tulsi is thrilled that her father's reminding everyone he's a conservative religious fundamentalist while she's trying to run for president as a Democrat.

    I suspect she'd have preferred it if he'd pushed this before she apologized for supporting conversion therapy, instead of after.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    btr1701 (profile), 8 Feb 2019 @ 11:47am

    Journalists writing about these porn filters often lose the forest for the trees in their coverage. The story isn't really about porn filters, though pointing out that porn filters don't work is certainly important. These stories are about how somebody with a terrible track record and zero meaningful expertise in either technology or law has been able to convince countless states to push ridiculous, unworkable, speech-stifling legislation in a country facing an ocean of more pressing problems.

    Journalists also never even mention (let alone provide any meaningful analysis of) how unconstitutional these filters are and how even if these laws pass, they'll almost certainly by nullified by the courts, resulting in a useless waste of tax money for what amounts to nothing more than grandstanding for politicians to look earnest in front of their constituents.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2019 @ 12:28pm

    Little bit, by little bit, a cut here, a slice there the wild, no holds bared, spit in the public face attitude while violating all decency and the sucking up all consumer information regardless of the 4th and 5th amendment the likes of Face Book, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are being whittled down.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Matthew Cline (profile), 8 Feb 2019 @ 1:15pm

      Re:

      What does requiring ISPs to implements filters have to do with Facebook, Google, Microsoft or Amazon?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2019 @ 1:51pm

        Re: Re:

        The CDA lawsuit had a ruling that porn filters were not required due to the burden it would place on websites. This is akin to the arguments made here and elsewhere against Article 11/13.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 8 Feb 2019 @ 1:55pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Did you reply to the wrong comment? Because the question was "What does requiring ISPs to implements filters have to do with Facebook, Google, Microsoft or Amazon?"

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 8 Feb 2019 @ 12:55pm

    So, if he can't enjoy it, then no one should be able to?

    I expect his emotional problems are fairly similar to those of other perverts like him who find fault with sex, porn, etc.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2019 @ 1:50pm

      Re:

      Can anyone here debate without using personal insults like that? Who do they think they are impressing with language like that?

      It's not the sex that's the issue, but the porn industry. Not everyone sees sex as a commodity btw.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Thad (profile), 8 Feb 2019 @ 1:58pm

        Re: Re:

        It's not the sex that's the issue

        ...so is there anybody in this conversation who actually knows who Mike Gabbard is?

        Maybe plug his name into Wikipedia before you suggest he wouldn't use his office for a moral crusade against what he considers to be sexual deviance.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2019 @ 2:57pm

        Re: Re:

        Not sure why some folk obsess with controlling the lives of others, maybe they dont have a life?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2019 @ 5:03pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The new world order is killing off the population. They don't want humans to have sex. Anything that makes humans horny is a big no no. Think about that and smoke it in your pipe on the Hawaiin coast.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2019 @ 3:40pm

        Re: Re:

        You sure as shit can’t. So why should we?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2019 @ 9:07pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I think it's funny as fuck that John Smith will go from sucking the cock of the porn industry when copyright comes into question, bitching and moaning that porn stars now have to moonlight as prostitutes because of tube sites. And now suddenly the porn industry is the "problem".

          It's not nearly the first time the copyright fucktards bit the pornographic hand that fed them fast lanes to their subpoenas for IP addresses, but you'd think that they wouldn't all be so consistently suicidal for the cause they're trying to ramp up.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 8 Feb 2019 @ 1:06pm

    'Porn is terrible... unless we're making money from it'

    (I swear, police and politicians...)

    Ah the good old porn tax, pushed by a laughably terrible person, and picked up by politicians in yet another state looking for some cheap and easy PR, with nary a thought as to constitutionality or what they are admitting in slapping a price tag on access.

    Don't like porn? Don't look at it.
    Don't want your underage children to see it? Install some filters.
    Smart enough to realize that filters are garbage? Take aware the devices and deal with the consequences, and/or swap them out for phones that don't have the capability to display images.
    Understand that even with all that that if they really want to find porn they will find it? Learn to accept the inevitable, grow a spine, and talk to them about sexuality and responsibility thereof.

    At no point in this process is 'offload your gorram responsibility as a parent to someone else' an acceptable replacement step.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2019 @ 5:09pm

    That group over there just need to have HAARP pass over them a while causing eathquakes, psunamis and volcanic eruptions to shake them up and get their minds off this stupid notion of controlling peoples' lives in theit bedrooms.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Feb 2019 @ 7:18pm

    Nothing lures people to look at something more than that which is filtered or banned.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown for basic formatting. (HTML is not supported.)
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown for basic formatting. (HTML is not supported.)
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.