Florida House Bill 337/Senate Bill 870

Summary

Florida House Bill 337/Senate Bill 870 would make it illegal for a business or individual to manufacture, produce or sell any device that provides internet access unless it contains an active and operating filter that blocks or restricts access to: material harmful to minors, obscene material, “revenge porn,” “lewdness” (indecent acts, i.e., ads for sexual encounters or hook ups) and human trafficking (only defined by the act, not what speech about it is). Sale or distribution of a device without a filter to an adult is subject to up to a year in prison and up to a $1,000 fine. Sale or distribution of any device without a filter to a minor is subject to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

This bill is based on a model bill drafted by the Human Trafficking Prevention Act (HTPA) campaign. The campaign’s goal is to block access to sexual material and other content on the internet by enacting laws in all the 50 states and Congress to force manufacturers, distributors and retailers to install and activate filtering software on any device that allows access to the internet. In 2017, 14 HTPA bills have been introduced in 12 states. Click here to learn more about the campaign.

Last Action

SB 337 died in Children, Families, and Elders Affairs Subcommittee on 5/5/2017

Status

First read in Careers and Competition Subcommittee on 3/7/2017.

Analysis

» Filters may be deactivated if:

  • The consumer specifically requests in writing that it be deactivated;
  • The business verifies in a face to face meeting with the consumer in person or through electronic means that the consumer is 18 years old or older;
  • The customer acknowledges receiving a written “warning” of the potential danger of deactivating the filter;
  • The consumer pays a $20 tax to the business (which must be remitted to the state).

» Other requirements in the legislation for covered businesses: 

  • Send out regular updates to “ensure the quality and performance of the filter;
  • Establish a reporting website or call center so consumers can report failure to block harmful to minors material.;
  • Allow consumers to report filtering of non-obscene material;
  • Set up a review process to determine if material material that should have been blocked was not or was not blocked that should have been. The business must send out updates to the filtering software to correct any under filtering. It’s not clear that they have to do so if they over filter.

History

  • HB 337 and SB 870 were introduced on March 7,2017 and read in Careers and Competition Subcommittee.
  • SB 337 died in Children, Families, and Elders Affairs Subcommittee on 5/5/2017 while HB 337 died in Careers and Competition Subcommittee also on 5/5/2017.