An Arizona lawmaker, Arizona State Representative Gail Griffin recently introduced a bill that would force internet users in that one Southwestern state to pay a fee before gaining access to what was referred to as “obscene content.”
One cited purpose for putting a completely unnecessary, easily avoidable and harmful to Arizona-culture regulation on “obscene content,” was to raise funds to build a portion of Trump’s notorious proposed border wall between Arizona and Mexico.
House Bill 2444 is a proposition that the Arizona state government go against the grain of common sense by imposing rigid regulations on internet service providers, demanding that they place a block on all p0rn websites, that can only be removed if the user pays a fee.
The bill specified that the fee would be a “minimum of $20,” although it’s not easily understandable how exactly the government would go about charging for the ability to watch that type of content.
Revenue forcefully obtained through the passage of this law would go to a number of different projects, with the border wall front and center.
The bill seems extremely unlikely to pass, and alternative media articles pointed out that it was a “puritanical” effort to criminalize sex work and regulate things that have no business being regulated.
Lawmakers stretched an excuse to pass this bill, claiming it is a measure to prevent human trafficking. It wasn’t apparent that people having to pay $20 for doing the same thing as before somehow stopped human trafficking.
Sort of a futile attempt to drum up moral support for the law, the bill promises to put the money toward a fund that would “provide grants to government agencies and private entities that work to uphold community standards of decency for the purpose of strengthening families and developing, expanding or strengthening programs for victims of sex offenses.”
Now here’s where it gets crazy: in the United Kingdom, a similar law has already been passed and the people didn’t do a thing to stop it, proving the consequences of that power differential between the people and the government.
All UK citizens have to register with the government before accessing online p0rn, thanks to this law: it will become in effect in April.
To make it even more surprising, similar propositions have been made in the US states of Alabama, Virginia, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Utah, and South Carolina.
Of course, the Arizona bill is the only one that specifies anything about a border wall. It was reported by one outlet that this bill is the result of a coordinated effort by an anti-p0rn lobbyist named Chris Sevier.
Sevier is behind efforts to regulate it in several other states, but it is unclear whether or not he is involved in the Arizona effort.
“Sometimes states start with putting a spin on it, I’m working on so many versions it’s ridiculous,” Sevier said.
Sevier is extreme and relentlessly fixated on trying to get p0rn regulated. He’s so extreme, as pointed out by John Vibes, other puritanical groups distanced themselves from him.
The anti-p0rn group, National Center on Sexual Exploitation issued a statement specifically announcing distance from the lobbyist, to demand he stop using their name to add legitimacy to his efforts.
At least 18 states saw the surfacing of some form of Sevier’s bill, and all of them have been flat rejected.
The futility of such an effort to regulate this is staggering. Even if a law does pass, consumers can choose to mask their locations and anonymously access the websites using a VPN, Virtual Private Network. How are they going to stop VPN’s?
A Singaporean created a browser extension to bypass the coming UK regulations. That’s how ridiculously easy it will to avoid the law.