Utah to restrict porn on mobile devices

Utah to restrict porn on mobile devices [Video]

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:


  • A Utah bill has proposed an automatic filter that will restrict porn on mobile devices.
  • Rep. Susan Pulsipher said the bill could help prevent children in the state from accessing porn.
  • Adults, meanwhile, will be given a passcode to be able to remove the restriction.

   


Conservative lawmakers in Utah are pushing for a new law that will automatically restrict porn on mobile devices.

Discussions are still ongoing, however. As parents push for their children’s protection from explicit content, critics argue that the measure is unconstitutional.

Rep. Susan Pulsipher (R) proposed the bill to prevent children from accessing pornographic content. Adults, meanwhile, will be able to turn the filter off if they choose.

The concerns were raised following an increase in screen time during the pandemic, which could make children more vulnerable to explicit content.

If the bill comes into effect, it would enforce manufacturers to automatically activate “filter requirements” on any phone or tablet. Manufacturers who fail to obey could be fined from $10 to $500.

Phone manufacturers and retailers have argued that enforcing it in a single state would be difficult. So they successfully lobbied for a bill provision that will require at least five other states to introduce the filter before the measure is enforced.

Rep. Pulsipher acknowledged that the filter will still not guarantee complete protection from explicit content: “A child that wants to find it and tries to would probably be able to still. It’s just one step in the right direction.”

Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of The National Center on Sexual Exploitation, expressed approval of the measure: “Utah has passed a critical, common sense solution to help protect vulnerable children from accessing harmful pornographic content on phones and tablets.”

Other critics argued that the measure could be used to track people traveling through Utah as the bill states that any device “activated” in the state would be subject to the filter.

Samir Jain, policy director at the Center for Democracy and Technology, told the New York Post, “You’ve basically got the state mandating the filtering of lawful content. That raises immediate First Amendment flags.”

Mike Stabile, a spokesman for the adult-entertainment trade group, the Free Speech Coalition, added that the filter could hinder art and sex education. 

Utah, a majority Mormon state, will be the first state to have such measures if the bill pushes through. Mainstream magazines and lingerie catalogs have been regarded as offensive by the conservative Mormon culture.

The state has previously advocated against pornography and pushed for expanded sex education and warning labels for adult websites.

Utah Governor Spencer Cox (R) has until March 25 to sign the legislation.

 

Source: The U.S. Sun

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