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Texas Blocking Software Bill

Texas "blocking software" legislation: With a bill entitled "An Act relating to the provision of certain software to persons who access the Internet; providing penalties," Texas legislators are creating a stir among Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Texas House Bill 1300 requires ISPs to provide to their subscribers, without charge, software designed to "automatically block or screen material on the Internet." In addition, no usage charge may be made for the software for at least 30 days. An ISP is considered to be in compliance with the law if its home-page contains a link to a site from which the software can be dowloaded by a subscriber. Other sections of the Act set out civil and criminal penalties for violators. The bill was authored by Texas State Representative Frank J. Corte, Jr.

The merits of blocking software have been widely debated. One concern is that the manner in which the software operates results in the blocking of content from relatively harmless, and even positively beneficial,web-sites. Sites maintained by the National Organization of Women and Planned Parenthood of America have been blocked by the software, at least temporarily.

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