Computer & Communication Industry Association
PublishedApril 24, 2024

CCIA Testifies on Alabama Device Filtering Bill

Montgomery, Ala. – The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) will provide testimony today on Alabama HB 167, a device filter bill that would require manufacturers to implement content filters on certain tablets and smartphones activated within the state.

HB 167 introduces a mandate for activated smartphones and tablets in Alabama to determine a user’s age during setup and automatically activate content filters for “obscene material” for those younger than 18. In testimony before the Senate Committee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development, CCIA notes that implementing a state-specific default filter presents significant technological hurdles, as mobile devices lack the capability to activate filters solely within a state’s boundaries. Additionally, though the bill aims to be a silver bullet in addressing potential harms, no filter is infallible. These legislative requirements would pose an unattainable compliance obstacle for device manufacturers, leading to numerous legal battles and widespread user dissatisfaction. 

The concept of devising a universal filter that caters to all concerns is impractical. CCIA advocates for enhanced privacy and security for younger users through the use of existing tools and settings accessible to parents. Instead of imposing the impossible task on device manufacturers of complying with this proposed legislation, CCIA argues the right of parents to decide what content their children have access to should be upheld. 

The following can be attributed to CCIA State Policy Manager Jordan Rodell:

“Although CCIA supports the concept of ensuring that children’s online safety concerns are adequately addressed, we have strong reservations about HB 167. It is imperative to educate parents on the tools and settings already available to them to successfully protect their children online, including a range of device filtering tools that can be installed when they purchase the device or afterward. We urge Alabama lawmakers to thoroughly evaluate this legislation and carefully consider the technological complications it entails.”