North Dakota House Bill 1185

Summary

North Dakota House Bill 1185 bars any business or individual that manufactures, produces or sells any device that provides internet access unless it makes inaccessible obscene material and to any “intimate image” as defined in the North Dakota harmful to minors law. However, the law does not define “intimate image.”  It also imposes a duty to make inaccessible “prostitution hubs” (not defined) and websites that facilitate human trafficking (not defined).

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

Died in the Senate on April 8, 2017.

Status

Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on March 9, 2017, recommended reporting back to the Senate floor for a vote. .

Analysis

Sale of device to a minor that does not have blocking software installed and activated to block harmful to minors material and obscenity will be deemed to have violated North Dakota’s distribution of obscenity and distribution of obscenity to minors laws. Sale such a device to an adult is class A misdemeanor unless the consumer has asked that the blocking software be deactivated. The attorney general can obtain an injunction if anyone sells a device without active software to block “prostitution hubs” or websites that facilitate human trafficking.

>> Filters may be deactivated if:

  • The consumer requests 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 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 harmful to minors material that was not blocked by the filter. If so, it must       ensure the material should have been blocked. Then, send an update of the software;
  • Failing to be responsive is subject to a lawsuit by the consumer or the Attorney General;
  • Allow reporting of non-obscene material that has been blocked. If reported, it must be unblocked.

History

The bill was introduced on February 4, 2016 and referred to the House Committee on Judiciary.