Florida Bill Aims to Shield Minors from Online Pornography

A new bill has been introduced in Florida with the aim of protecting children from accessing pornographic content online. The bill, known as House Bill 3, was filed earlier this month and is sponsored by state Representative Chase Tramont, a Republican lawmaker representing Port Orange. The legislation targets websites that have a significant portion, over one-third, of their content consisting of materials deemed harmful to minors, such as pornography or obscene content.

Under the proposed bill, these websites would be required to implement “reasonable age verification methods” using an independent third party to ensure that users are at least 18 years old. However, the bill specifies that when verifying a user’s age, the websites would not be allowed to collect personal information for longer than necessary. It is important to note that news-gathering organizations would be exempt from these regulations, and search engines would not be held responsible for directing users to websites with pornographic content.

While the exact methods for age verification are not explicitly outlined in the bill, potential options could include checking credit cards or government-issued identification. Representative Tramont took to social media to express his support for the bill, stating that it is a “common-sense bipartisan piece of legislation designed to protect the lives, health, and well-being of children.” He also acknowledged the devastating impact unrestricted access to harmful materials has had on children and families, emphasizing the need for action.

This bill is just one of many initiatives in Florida aimed at safeguarding children from exposure to explicit content. Last year, Senate Bill 1438 was enacted, prohibiting children from attending “adult live performances” such as sexually explicit drag shows. Similar age-verification laws have been drafted in other states, including Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Utah, and Texas.

In Texas, a First Amendment lawsuit led to the striking down of their age-verification law last year. However, the Utah law remains intact after a similar lawsuit was dismissed. It is worth noting that just recently, three of the world’s largest porn websites, Pornhub, XVideos, and Stripchat, were instructed to implement age-verification methods following the approval of new online regulations by the European Union.

If approved, House Bill 3 would take effect on July 1. The bill seeks to address a pressing concern surrounding the unrestricted access to harmful materials by minors, and its passing would represent a significant step in protecting children from the detrimental effects of pornographic content online.

In summary, the introduction of House Bill 3 in Florida signals a concerted effort to combat the issue of minors accessing pornographic content online. The bill proposes age verification methods for websites with a substantial proportion of harmful materials and aims to protect the well-being of children. While similar laws have faced legal challenges in the past, the urgency to address this issue remains, and legislators are taking steps to enact necessary regulations.

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