Providence, RI — Residents of Rhode Island will have to register with the state and pay a $20 fee to access sexually explicit content online if a recently proposed bill passes the General Assembly.
The highly Orwellian bill, introduced by Sen. Frank Ciccone, D-Providence, and Sen. Hanna Gallo, D-Cranston last week will require internet providers to digitally block pornography in the entire state. In order to remove this block, residents of Rhode Island would have to pay a $20 fee to the state.
What's more, the bill actually targets hardware. 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."
When rereading the above statement, the term "patently offensive material" can be interpreted in any number of ways. And, if history is any indicator, lawmakers would most likely abuse the loose language to simply snub out content they don't like.
The state currently defines "patently offensive" as material "so offensive on its face as to affront current standards of decency."
According to The Herald News, each quarter the internet providers would give the money made from the deactivation fees to the state's general treasurer, who would forward the money to the attorney general to fund the operations of the Council on Human Trafficking, according to the bill's language.
If online distributors of sexual content do not comply with the filter, the attorney general or a consumer could file a civil suit of up to $500 for each piece of content reported, but not blocked, according to the bill.