Bill Description: Senate Bill 1261 would force internet-device manufacturers to include and automatically activate content filters, limiting access to adult content.
Does it transfer a function of the private sector to the government? Examples include government ownership or control of any providers of goods or services such as the Land Board’s purchase of a self-storage facility, mandatory emissions testing, or pre-kindergarten. Conversely, does it eliminate a function of government or return a function of government to the private sector?
Senate Bill 1261 would create Chapter 20, Title 48, Idaho Code, to require the presence of content filters in devices that connect to the internet, such as smartphones and tablets. Such filters must be automatically activated when the device is activated within the state.
Among numerous problems with this proposal, there are already myriad content filters available from hardware and software providers. The market has already met the demand for content filters. Requiring device manufacturers to include them interferes with the market and may force existing filter providers out of business.
Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce government intervention in the market?
Senate Bill 1261 imposes new regulations on device manufacturers. Given that such devices are manufactured for global markets, a requirement imposed by one state is a significant and costly burden.
Does it directly or indirectly create or increase penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for nonviolent crimes? Conversely, does it eliminate or decrease penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non-violent crimes
Senate Bill 1261 allows for extensive penalties for device manufactures whose devices do not automatically activate content filters within the state of Idaho. Among these penalties are civil penalties of up to $5,000 per violation, revocation of "any license or certificate authorizing a manufacturer to engage in business in this state," and enjoining a "manufacturer from engaging in business in this state."
Additionally, the bill allows parents or guardians to take civil action against a manufacturer if their children accesses adult content on a device that did not automatically activate content filters when activated within the state of Idaho.
Of significant concern is an additional subsection allowing for "private, civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction against a person who is not the parent or legal guardian and who provides the passcode to remove the filter from a device in the possession of the child that results in the child's exposure" to adult content.
This means anyone who removes the filter from their own phone could face up to a $5,000 fine if someone under age 18 then uses it to access adult content. This provision creates an unreasonable obligation for device owners to keep content filters active even when they don’t want them.
Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?
Requiring devices activated in Idaho to automatically activate a content filter violates the rights of consumers to purchase devices tailored to their needs and preferences. Making censorship the default state of every device activated in Idaho represents an unreasonable infringement on the basic liberties of all involved parties.
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