Texas HB 2266 bars a business from selling or leasing to a consumer any product that makes content accessible on the internet is barred from doing business in Texas unless the product contains an “active and operating digital blocking capability” that blocks access to obscene material.
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.
HB 2266 was referred to Business and Industry Committee on March 15, 2017.
The software must also block “revenge porn,” child pornography, websites “known to facilitate prostitution and human trafficking.”
>>The business must also:
1. Regularly update the filtering software to ensure that it is blocking obscene material.
2. Set up a call center so consumers can report blocking non-obscene material and failing to block obscene material.
3. Set up a process to review the consumer reports of overblocking and underblocking and correct any instances of either in”reasonable amount of time.”
>>Any digital blocking capability may be deactivated after a consumer:
1. requests in writing that the capability be disabled;
2. presents identification to verify that the consumer is 18 years of age or older;
3. acknowledges receiving a written warning regarding the potential danger of deactivating the digital blocking capability; and
4. pays a one-time $20 digital access fee to the seller.
It is a misdemeanor offense to violate any part of this section.
The Attorney General or any district or county attorney can seek injunctive relief if a business is in violation of any part of this legislation.
A consumer “injured” by a violation may seek for damages and can recover legal fees. The blocking software is barred from filtering any commercial social networking site if it has a call center or reporting website to report obscene material and has procedures for reviewing those complaints and removing obscene material.
The bill was introduced on February 27, 2017 and referred to the House Committee on Judiciary.