Hawaii Politicians Introduce Unscientific, Stigmatizing Language in Anti-Porn Bill

Hawaii Politicians Introduce Unscientific, Stigmatizing Language in Anti-Porn Bill

HONOLULU — Politicians in Hawaii recently introduced two bills requiring "all state and state-funded facilities" to install internet and wireless access filters "to block access to pornography sites."

The language used by the bill writers to justify this requirement rehashes some of the most extreme rhetoric of War on Porn activists.

Senate Bill 2037 begins with outright moral panic propaganda:

"The legislature finds that today's internet is full of pornographic content. A simple web search leads to a plethora of results to both free and paid websites. While non-violent pornography exists, it is not the norm. Pornography often involves women or children being coerced or treated brutally during sexual intercourse. Both psychological and sociological theories suggest that violence is the result of learned behavior, and frequent viewing of materials depicting sexual violence against women or children could in fact lead some to believe this behavior is acceptable, thereby perpetuating the violence."

Aware that the definition of "pornography" would then be left up to ISPs and the filter makers, and that that would cause Free Speech issues, the censorship-happy Hawaii lawmakers also acquit themselves pre-emptively:

"By requiring that all state and state-funded facilities have internet computer and wireless access filters, the State is not interfering with free speech. The State is simply ensuring that when the State is a customer and purchasing internet access or providing state resources for internet access, that it is not providing access to pornography."

House Bill 2055, the companion piece introduced to Hawaii's lower house, is identical in its unscientific, panic-mongering rhetoric from religiously motivated War on Porn activists.

The wording "all state and state-funded facilities" is particularly relevant for Hawaii, a state whose largest non-public industry is tourism. Internet-connected systems affected by this regulation as phrased would encompass a large number of the islands' computers.

Local Hawaiian press reports that the bills "are part of the Women’s Legislative Caucus package."

SB 2037 is supported by 19 of the 25 senators and has a hearing set for Thursday, January 30.

To read Hawaii SB2037, click here.

To read Hawaii HB2055, click here.

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