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Rhode Island Joins Virginia in Considering Porn-Watching Fee

by Countable | Updated on 3.8.18

What's the story?

  • Rhode Island is considering a $20 "digital access fee" on customers wanting to view "sexual content and patently offensive material.”

  • The bill was proposed by two Democrats, Sens. Frank Ciccone and Hanna Gallo.

  • “The purpose of this legislation is to first and foremost protect our children from viewing websites that could have possible detrimental effects to their psyches and developmental process,” Ciccone said in a statement. “And I want to be clear, the intent of this bill is to require that digital blocks on this kind of material be available to parents if they so choose to use it."

  • Like Virginia House Bill 1592, the money collected would be used to help combat human trafficking.

How would the bill work?

If the bill passes, internet-service providers (ISPs) would be required to enable “digital content blocking capability” that would target sexual acts "normal or perverted, actual or simulated.”

To disable the content blocker, users would need to:

  • Request, in writing, that the blocker be disabled.
  • Present identification to verify they're over 18 years of age.
  • Acknowledge receiving a warning regarding the potential danger of deactivating the porn blocker.
  • Pay a one-time $20 "digital access fee."

Countable's original story on Virginia's proposed porn-watching fee appears below.


Virginia Considering Porn-Watching Fee

What’s the story?

Virginia House Bill 1592, also known as "The Human Trafficking Prevention Act," would charge people $20 to watch online porn. The money would be used to help combat human trafficking.

Why does it matter?

The Human Trafficking Prevention Act would make it "unlawful for any person to distribute or sell any product that makes content accessible on the Internet unless the product possesses an operating digital content blocking capability that renders obscene content, including obscene items, obscene performances, or obscene exhibitions, inaccessible."

To unlock the "obscene content," Virginians would have to pay $20 to the Virginia Prevention of Human Trafficking Victim Fund.

"By public education, the next generation is very well informed that exploitation has consequences," Jessica Neely, a human trafficking survivor, told WRIC in Richmond. "Endorsing this bill, getting behind it and making sure it passes, your state - Virginia - makes the choice that girls like myself can choose recovery."

Opponents of the bill argue it’s an infringement on their rights.

"I think that’s a freedom we all have as Americans," Grace Owens told WNEC Norfolk. “I just don’t see the relevance at all.”

What do you think?

Want to see a similar bill enacted in your state? Will charging a fee to unlock porn help people understand that "exploitation has consequences"? Or is it an infringement on “a freedom we all have as Americans”? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your comments below.

—Josh Herman

(Photo Credit: scyther5 / iStock)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(198)
  • Robert
    01/30/2018
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    Maybe Virginia should charge as well for FOXNews political porn

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  • Andy1
    01/30/2018
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    I support the goal of battling human trafficking, but I wonder if this is the best way to fund that battle. With all of the reports of sexual harassment coming out of state and federal government on both sides of the aisle, I also wonder if they are who should be defining what is and isn’t obscene material online. Government sponsored censorship, no matter how well intentioned, is never a good idea.

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  • Elliott
    01/30/2018
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    A) This is not going to help fix human trafficking. B) The government shouldn’t be policing what people choose to see in the internet.

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  • Gerald
    01/30/2018
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    What? My porn has slowed down since they removed net neutrality and now I have to pay for it? The intent is well meaning, but there is so much danger with this approach that I can’t support it.

    Like (53)
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  • clayrosenthal
    01/30/2018
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    This is a ridiculous approach to solve this problem. Maybe take funds from the insanely large defense budget instead. People will get around this. How on Earth could this be enforced? And only Virginians? Seems like a weak idea on paper and a terrible idea in practice.

    Like (48)
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  • Larry
    01/30/2018
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    So the state government wants to do what they claim the ISP’s are trying to do - make you pay for accessing certain content the internet!? What’s next??? Pay for access to gambling sites to combat gambling addictions? Pay for access to movies to subsidize the dying theater revenue? Pay for access to email providers to bail out the postal service? This really is spectacularly ridiculous!!

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  • Nathan
    01/30/2018
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    And this is why Net Neutrality matters.....or DID matter anyway.

    Like (37)
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  • Deirdre
    01/30/2018
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    I think that the government needs to stay out of the internet

    Like (36)
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  • Dennis
    01/30/2018
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    I am opposed to Virginia House Bill 1592. This is an invasion of privacy. Human trafficking is terrible but this is not a way to control it.

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  • Ralph
    01/30/2018
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    Where does this make sense?

    Like (31)
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  • Jack
    01/30/2018
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    This is America that we’re living in? Sure seems like it’s changing for the worse. This won’t stop human traffic and it’s idiotic to think it would.

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  • Follow-NO-One
    01/30/2018
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    Yuck.... Slippery slope.... Gross

    Like (29)
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  • Aidan
    01/30/2018
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    This would appear to make it illegal to distribute any browser or web server software to Virginia customers without modifying it to check against a state database. I’ve yet to see a more ridiculous law.

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  • Spoon
    01/31/2018
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    This is beyond laughable, why does the government always feel the need to worry about what goes on in my bedroom. Hey, here is a thought, why don’t they take a few of those billions planed to be wasted on a wall nobody wants and use it for sex trafficking.

    Like (26)
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  • Veronique
    01/30/2018
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    This sounds more like punishing porn viewers than regulating the porn industry. The people who work in the porn industry are severely struggling to make ends meet and this will only make it worse. Also, legitimate businesses in porn have absolutely nothing to do with human trafficking. You wanna tackle human trafficking, specifically target human trafficking. You want more state funding to fight against human trafficking, then allocate the funds through budget. Stop gouging your citizens for more money based on some weird religious objection to porn.

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  • Jacob
    01/30/2018
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    Not sure this really solves the problem...

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  • Franky
    01/30/2018
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    So you’re going to charge — and invade — people’s privacy by forcing them to combat an issue that you can otherwise combat in other meaningful terms? This is the dumbest thing ever. You shouldn’t charge people just for simply being human. If you want to go after human trafficking(and I’m sure many do) then go propose legislation that combats and abolishes human trafficking. What people do — or watch — during their days off, spare time, or relaxed moments, is their own however they feel like it. Grow up.

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  • Rosemary
    01/31/2018
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    I want a fee charged for accessing Breitbart, Infowars, and FOX faux News - they are provable impediments to a factually informed electorate. Not to mention Rush Limbaugh. I’d like a refusal of Koch funds to your campaign coffers. And I’d like adequate human trafficking legislation funded without interfering with privacy. I’m not a user or a fan, but not all porn involves human trafficking. Let’s work on human trafficking on its own, very real, dynamics.

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  • Joel
    01/30/2018
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    What a goddamn puritanical waste of time. Pornhub is already donating it’s ad revenue to multiple charities and is more effective with it. You can’t try and one up them with the force of law, that’s basically extortion. Open up a website and campaign like everyone else. You do this and everyone starts pirating porn, the industry hurts, you don’t make much money, and everyone’s time was wasted.

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  • El
    01/30/2018
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    FYI. Porn and Human Trafficking aren't related. Child porn and what would be considered rape has nothing to do with the adult entertainment business. Just in case you're confused

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