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$20 Fee for Porn Access Proposed in Rhode Island

Device makers would be required to block porn, prostitution hubs, and all content that fails "current standards of decency."

Ingram Publishing/NewscomIngram Publishing/NewscomRhode Island has joined a host of other states in considering an irrational measure to regulate online porn by charging consumers a $20 access fee. But the Rhode Island bill actually beats others like it in terrible and unconstitutional requirements, such as requiring the blockage of not just nude imagery or porn sites but any content that "affront(s) current standards of decency"... whatever that means.

The bill, sponsored by state Sens. Frank Ciccone (D-Providence) and Hannah Gallo (D-Cranston), is packed with ill-defined terms and extreme mandates.

To start, it would require all internet-enabled devices sold in the state to come with "a digital blocking capability that renders inaccessible sexual content and/or patently offensive material." But as many previous schemes to block sexual content have shown, it's nearly impossible for automated censors to distinguish pornographic sexual content from sexual wellness websites, reproductive health organizations, ancient art, educational information, and all sorts of other non-obscene or pornographic stuff.

And the Rhode Island bill wouldn't just block overtly sexual content but anything deemed "patently offensive," too–even though there's no clear definition of this term. The state currently defines "patently offensive" as material "so offensive on its face as to affront current standards of decency."

Makers of computers, smartphones, and other internet-enabled products would be left to determine for themselves what exactly "current standards of decency" means and how to put that in algorithmic terms.

The proposal doesn't stop there in terms of confusing and unconstitutional dictates, though. It would also require devices to automatically block "any hub that facilitates prostitution"—again, not a legal or well-defined category of content.

And device makers would also have to "ensure that all child pornography and revenge pornography is inaccessible" on their products—something that sounds great but is completely technically infeasible. If it were that easy to stop the spread of child porn, companies would be doing it already.

What makes all of this especially ridiculous is that under Ciccone and Gallo's proposal, anyone over 18-years-old could have the filter removed by making a request in writing and paying a $20 fee. The money would go to the state's general treasury "to help fund the operations of the council on human trafficking." (But... if people are paying the state $20 to access prostitution sites, doesn't that make the state a trafficker?)

The fact that lawmakers think blocked "patently offensive" material should be able to be accessed for a low price just shows how toothless their proclamations that the legislation is necessary to protect public health or morals. But what lawmakers would get out of the measure is a nice new source of steady income and a registry of people who want the filter removed.

Plus, the fees imposed on individual consumers would be pocket change compared to the money the state could make shaking down tech companies. Under Ciccone and Gallo's proposal, failure to implement the technically impossible filtering requirements could mean being sued by the state or any Rhode Island resident, being held liable for civil damages, and being charged up to $500 "for each piece of content that was reported but not subsequently blocked."

Photo Credit: Ingram Publishing/Newscom

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  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    We're not censoring pornography, we're licensing it. Big diff.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Rhode Island wants to be positioned to benefit from pushing the MAX amount of porn, so that they can get RICH!!! Just like taxes on booze, XXX-cetera!!! Sell some more, make Rhode Island richer!!!! Government Almighty, Porn Pusher!!!

  • SQRLSY One||

    Please visit the Rhode Island Official State Porn Site, at www.XXX.cum ... Cum on over!

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I don't think that's an actual Rhode Island state government website.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Oh, OK, sorry! Please try www.S_of_RI_Sux_MyDick.cum ...

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    This bill is sponsored by the Association of Consumer Electronics Retailers Located Just Outside of Rhode Island.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Seriously. All a Rhode Islander has to do is drive at most 5 miles to be outside the jurisdiction of this dumbass law.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Of course once there they will realize the beauty of the world outside of Rhode Island and never return.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    "I have a great understanding of CT, because I can see it from my house." - every RI gubernatorial candidate ever

  • DiegoF||

    Yeah, you would think this was being suggested in one of those Western states where you have to travel hundreds of miles from the places in the state where anyone lives to leave the grip of one of their obnoxious consumer restrictions. Not the state that's smaller than nearly every county in the western half of the country. (All but a few in Maine, matter of fact.) They don't exactly have your balls in a vice, these geniuses.

  • BYODB||

    Honest question: Isn't that state so small that you could literally be connected to a cell tower in another state while sitting in your home in the middle of Rhode Island?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Technically, the middle of Rhode Island is Narragansett Bay.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Technically, there are things called boats which can be in Narragansett Bay, and which Rhode Islanders are allowed to own.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Yeah, but i'm pretty sure only about 40% of Rhode Islanders actually live on their boats.

  • Rat on a train||

  • ||

    They don't exactly have your balls in a vice, these geniuses.

    Stupid is as stupid does.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    More stupid to the power of stupid.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I like driving to another state to get my internet fix.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    The law affects devices, so all a Rhode Islander needs to do is buy a modem and router from out of state. Then they are free to stream porns in their home until they're as dizzy and dehydrated as they wanna be.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    They can probably keep the modem out of state and just run an Ethernet cable to their house.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    It's Rhode Island, you could just walk. :)

  • DD2TT||

    You mean jump in your car to go masturbate? Seems weird. Maybe it's me.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    UNCONSTITUTIONAL [period]

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Aw, lovecon89 is on his period.

  • NoVaNick||

    I suspect that the Foxy Lady is behind this bill. I can't even imagine how much business they have lost to online porn.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    British ex-spy claims Kremlin blocked Trump from naming Mitt Romney as secretary of state: report

    https://goo.gl/QVoaJp

    Oh, shit. If true, the Dotard is fucked.

    And that is good porn.

  • colorblindkid||

    RawStory is at the same level of journalistic integrity as Breitbart.

  • colorblindkid||

    With just as much bigotry and hate.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    The source is the New Yorker and Jane Meyer.

  • colorblindkid||

    And that source is Steele, whose Russian-sourced bullshit is the source of all of this bullshit. The Russians are playing everybody. I don't know why Steele getting dirt on Trump from Russian sources is any different than Trump supposedly trying to get dirt on Hillary from Russians.

  • BYODB||

    Because it feels bad man.

  • Freddy the Jerk||

    Principals, not principles.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Actually...

    From BP's link,
    """This memo, which did not surface publicly with the others, is shorter than the rest, and is based on one source, described as 'a senior Russian official,"""

    The source is an unnamed Russian official.

  • Rebel Scum||

    Speaking of Mittens, remember when a spineless, monogamist, DemocratLite Mormon was literally figuratively Hitler? Good times.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    No.

    But I remember Willard was big on deporting them illegals but somehow it didn't work for him.

  • colorblindkid||

    He would have had a hard time deporting more people than Obama did.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    True.

    Campaign rhetoric matters.

  • Freddy the Jerk||

    Worse than Hitler actually. The mustache guy never killed a dog then strapped it to his car roof like some kind of bizarre trophy. He also never kept binders full of womens' skin.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Wait, that's the same ex-spy behind the Dossier? Uhhh huhhh.... kayyyy.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    The right loved him when he was going to help them finger Hillary Clinton.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Please don't say 'finger Hillary Clinton'.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Yeah, words are cheap.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    You mean Campaign rhetoric is cheap.

  • ||

    The right loved him when he was going to help them finger Hillary Clinton.

    And? That's how a con(fidence) artist is supposed to do their job.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Wow! Thanks for sharing this explosive revelation!

    I know I've been saying it a lot lately, but THIS will be what finally leads to Drumpf's downfall. No doubt Mueller is currently verifying this story so he can assemble an airtight case for impeachment.

    #TrumpRussia
    #It'sMuellerTime

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    NOW you're sounding like a libertarian.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Hey, OBL, what sort of things do you masturbate to?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Hey, OBL, what sort of things do you masturbate to?

    Reason Magazine, of course.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Strong, independent women who don't feel the need to conform to what the patriarchy tells them they should look like. IOW, women like Amy Schumer.

    Also, the Newsweek article I've shared many times about how Hillary Clinton can still be President if the 2016 election can be proved fraudulent. That's my ultimate fantasy.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Do you ever masturbate to POC, or is that cultural appropriation? Do you ever have shame orgasms?

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    I learned in college that can be a very tricky issue. To never fantasize about POC is to say there are objective standards of beauty they consistently fail, which is obviously problematic. Anybody who thinks "straight hair is better than curly hair" or "light skin is better than dark skin" is clearly a white supremacist.

    However, fantasizing too much about POC is also problematic because it fetishizes and hypersexualizes black and brown bodies, which can be dehumanizing. The solution, then, is to establish a middle ground in which POC are considered attractive — but not too attractive. I do this by making sure my list of attractive celebrities has approximately the same racial breakdown as the general population.

  • Texasmotiv||

    Bravo!

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Uhm, most libertarians males have been masturbating to strong, independent women for years. Fact.

  • Rebel Scum||

    You can take my porn...from my warm, sticky hand.

  • SQRLSY One||

    ^ +1!!! Winner, winner, chicken dinner!!!!

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Is your hand bigger than your penis? Because I come out into the air, by god.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    When BUCS says he needs some fresh air, better run for cover.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    "so offensive on its face as to affront current standards of decency."

    Like a black man marrying a white women?

  • SQRLSY One||

    "so offensive on its face as to affront current standards of decency."

    Like blasphemy against Government Almighty? Like saying that Government Almighty does ***NOT*** love us all, deeply and passionately?

  • Frank Thorn||

    "so offensive on its face as to affront current standards of decency."

    i.e. Liberal talking points

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Want more of ENB on the porn beat.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Another day, another euphemism for masturbation

  • SQRLSY One||

    The thought of it makes me want to go and twaddle my turnips!

  • jelabarre||

    Another day, another euphemism for masturbation

    Hey, Rule 34 and all.

    And of course, Rule 34 means EVERYTHING can be porn.

  • BYODB||


    The bill, sponsored by state Sens. Frank Ciccone (D-Providence) and Hannah Gallo (D-Cranston), is packed with ill-defined terms and extreme mandates.


    Looks like a few Democrats didn't get the memo that they're the party of Sodomy.


    I mean that quite literally, actually. It's pretty hard to jump on the moral bandwagon past that point. Not that I have any problem with gay people, furries, or anyone else that falls into some sexual subgroup for that matter. It's just that Democrats claim to be the party that looks out for those groups (true or not), so trying to insert some New Victorian puritanism seems ill advised.

  • BYODB||


    Makers of computers, smartphones, and other internet-enabled products would be left to determine for themselves what exactly "current standards of decency" means and how to put that in algorithmic terms.


    Device Maker:

    "Well, you see, that's in our algorithm so it's now the current standard of decency. You see how this works now, right?"

    *walks away laughing maniacally*

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    They would say straight porn victimizes women.

    But women make 5-10x more than men in porn (so straight porn actually empowers women, imo)

  • BYODB||

    The very notion that a woman could victimize themselves strongly indicates that at least some people don't believe in female agency in any context, but whatev. There are those on both sides that probably believe that, no party has a lock on being 'for' any of those groups they attempt to exploit for votes.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Progressives in general don't believe in any sort of agency. That is why they are anti-gun, pro-affirmative action, anti-prostitution, go on about white privilege, and so on.

  • ||

    The very notion that a woman could victimize themselves strongly indicates that at least some people don't believe in female agency in any context, but whatev.

    You haven't seen the lesbian porn I've seen.

  • DiegoF||

    Why, these dastardly evil socons! See? They're still here, still aggressive, still wielding their noxious bible-thumping Puritanism against our personal liberties. I don't know how so many people here can dismiss the enormous danger of these people while having the nerve to suggest that these days the greatest threat to freedom comes from...

    *squints, reads article closer*

    Oh. Um, as you were, gentlemen.

  • damikesc||

    Man, remember when Christian busybodies were a concern. The Left is slowly morphing into the town from Footloose.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    And the GOP loves big spending and big deficits and tariffs.

    WE NEED A NEW PARTY!

  • colorblindkid||

    I would be thrilled with a Gary Johnson presidency, right now. We would still have the complete lack of respect for the office Trump brought that I've been waiting for, but with actually good policy.

  • damikesc||

    Gary Johnson, good policy?

    That's hilarious.

    We'd have the same lame Obama policies and GayJay would've done shit to end them.

  • Brandybuck||

    Oh geez, I already gotta by 14.99 a month for my access...

  • buybuydandavis||

    "What do you mean, 'what do I mean'? I want it to block exactly what I want it to block, and nothing else."

  • BillEverman||

    Did anyone visit their site at http://humantraffickingpreventionact.com/#q1 ? Fascinating.

    "This is an anti-exploitation bill, not an anti-business measure. Although a consumer will have to at least pay a $20 fee to have the filter deactivated, which will go to the state to help it offset the secondary harmful effects of pornography and prostitution hubs, the retailers in this state can charge an additional deactivation fee of their own – if they wants to – the retailers can set the amount to be what it feels the market can bare. That is, the retailer can charge a filter deactivation fee also to offset any of the costs of compliance with this act. For example, the retailer could charge an additional $40 filter deactivation fee on top of the $20 fee. Anyone who supports this bill should know that they aresupporting business and economic development."

    There's also a section on why libertarians should support this bill. Short answer: because libertarians are wrong.

  • Freddy the Jerk||

    ...what it feels the market can bare. Does it really say that? Nice Freudian slip, that.

    Anyone who supports this bill should know that they are supporting business and economic development." That's the most disgusting piece of rationalization I've seen in quite a while...

    Surprised they didn't load up on "common sense", "practical", "reasonable", etc.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Libertarians should absolutely support this act in accordance with the foundational premises of their own value system: this act will greatly reduce government regulations, the sizeof government, and the costs imposed on taxpayers overall. One way or the other, our society is paying a huge cost to deal with the fallout of easily accessible pornography and prostitution hubs.

    What is so confusing about libertarian premises that it leads people to get so confused over them, so often?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    The United States cannot prosecute its way out of a sexual holocaust and porn pandemic.

    Not only do they misrepresent my beliefs, they completely ripped off the title of my autobiography.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    "Freedom" is the presence of the "right restrictions," the set of restrictions that objectively fits the givenness of our nature, the truth about "the way we are," and the truth about "the way things are."

    I almost want to e-mail the writer of this and tell them that they shouldn't put scare quotes around their own statements.

  • Freddy the Jerk||

    Not exactly what I'd email the writer.

    Is goats.ex still around?

    Anyway, that FAQ has to be the work of a first-class troll. No-one could be that self-aware.

  • Freddy the Jerk||

    "self-unaware" of course.

  • ||

    It's not that libertarian values are confusing as much as you should just shut up and recognize that you're wrong.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    So what, you're just telling me now that elected officials and pundits purposefully misrepresent points of views they disagree with? That would be ridiculous if true.

  • Mr Happy Man||

    I read this comment, and have decided that with this logic, libertarians should also support complete government control of all written and spoken material - ie full censorship - and nationalizing all industry, down to the neighborhood lemonade stand. Perhaps they should also support requiring government passes to travel, even if it's across the street. And maybe they should support everyone joining the same religion, where the government is worshipped, to boot.

  • Jerryskids||

    Rhode Island has joined a host of other states in considering an irrational measure to regulate online porn by charging consumers a $20 access fee.

    Whether or not it regulates online porn, they're getting their 20 bucks. Is it really cynical to suggest that's all they care about?

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    Of course, cellular providers, other device makers and ISPs could just block the entire internet from Rhode Island users until / unless they pay the fee.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Better safe than sorry. And it's not like anyone outside Rhode Island would notice if the whole state went dark.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    Exactly, it's the only technically feasible way to comply with this stupid^3 law.

  • DiegoF||

    Just now saw the website and...I ain't scared (of no ghost loads).

    This is a clown operation, bro. Look at that fucking website. It's amateurish and delusional. Its design is decent, but its text is like something written by people who live in a mental world where the things they say can actually be effective appeals to the population. I feel like I'm reading the manifesto of some local eccentric running for office. This shit ain't getting through two houses anywhere in the country, let alone Congress. Not in 2018. Not without a better plan.

    Much as I love to bitch that we live in a country of moral panicky superficial "freedom lovers" who run straight into the soft strong arms of Nanny whenever she tells them a scary story, that you could get the Constitution revoked nowadays if you just gave it a name like "The Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Prevention Act," these deranged incompetents are about to test the limits of my hyperbole. In failing, it might even set a good precedent in our political culture in firm favor of Internet freedom and against "human trafficking" panic...

    Nah.

  • croaker||

    Maybe someone from 4chan can get a copy of these asshole's video viewing habits and post them for all to remark upon.

  • Skyhawk||

    This I'd like to see.
    Most politicians who are rabidly 'pro-morality' eventually end up on the front page after getting caught buggering an underage Laotion pool boy.

  • DWC||

    Other people's standards of decency - yeah, that's how I want to live.

  • jelabarre||

    And you just load Linux on your internet devices, and it will happily ignore the filtering device at no charge.

  • Mr Happy Man||

    At one time, say 40 years ago (had there been internet back then) Republicans would have eagerly jumped aboard and Democrafs would have opposed it - because Republicans used to strongly oppose porn and Democrats were supportive of it. Now, Democrats, who love taxes more than porn, support it; I don't know where Republicans are but I wouldn't be surprised if they oppose it, since they are now more opposed to taxes than porn. Funny how things change in 40 years.

  • IceTrey||

    Apparently no one has heard of a VPN in RI. Wasn't hooking legal in RI for a while because of a poorly written law?

  • Skyhawk||

    Electronics manufacturers to Rhode Island:
    "GFY. We just won't manufacture or sell any electronics in your tiny, insignificant state with a negligible retail market. Let us know how that works out for you"

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Who get's the $20? Because if it's the person who's private parts are being viewed, I've got an awesome dick pic I send everywhere I'd like to get paid for.

    https://goo.gl/images/9vxXAP

  • Ekke Ekke Ptang Zoo Boing||

    (But... if people are paying the state $20 to access prostitution sites, doesn't that make the state a trafficker?)
    Oh Elizabeth... *sigh*...
    Yes.

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