perplexed Senior Couple with a Laptop Computer

(CREATISTA/iStockPhoto)

Well, somebody certainly wants to think of the children cripple South Carolina’s computer sales market, because state representative Bill Chumley has just filed a bill that would require all computers purchased in South Carolina to be fitted with porn blockers so their owners could not access pornography or “obscene” content.

Representative Chumley must have watched Footloose one too many times and thought, “Wow, that Reverend was such a forward-thinking leader! Banning dancing. What genius!”

He might think he’s fighting obscenity, or human trafficking, or indecency, but all his bill would really do is make it so that nobody would buy a computer in South Carolina. Anyone who has ever been a corporate employee knows how annoying it is to use a computer outfitted with porn blockers, even if one isn’t looking for porn. Porn blockers get set off by the wrong stuff all the time. The blockers at my old office wouldn’t let me shop for tights or lingerie, which was inconvenient because I was writing about fashion at the time. It also got twitchy around the word “cosplay.”

And even aside from the “porn blockers block things that aren’t porn” issue, porn blockers block porn, and porn is legal.

According to the Charlotte Observer, the proposal wold fine manufacturers that sold devices without porn blockers, or manufacturers could pay $20 per device to “opt out” of the porn-blocker rule and just sell a normal product. A person who bought a porn-blocked computer would also be allowed to have the porn blocker removed by paying $20 and submitting proof of age, but honestly, that’s just going to be embarrassing.

“Hi, um, I’d like to remove the … blockers from this computer.”

I’m pretty sure avoiding awkward conversations like that is why everyone likes the Internet for porn better than other options.

On the plus side, this legislation could lead to a big uptick in people learning how to build their own computers.

Chumley’s plan has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee, but one expects it won’t get far. Nobody’s going to want to have this law getting all up in their business.