Thursday, April 15, 2021

Utah Considering Bill That Would Install Anti-Porn Filters On New Phones

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Utah will consider a bill requiring all devices sold in the state to automatically block pornography. The GOP-controlled legislature recently passed the proposal and its fate now rests with Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (pictured), who can either veto or sign the bill by March 25.

The HB72 measure stipulates that every tablet and smartphone sold in the state after January 1, 2022 should come with a preinstalled content filter capable of “blocking content harmful to minors”. Adults might turn off the filter for specific content. However, the restriction cannot come into force until five other states have adopted similar measures.

The bill is part of an ongoing anti-pornography campaign by conservative Utah lawmakers. In 2016, Utah passed a resolution declaring porn a public health crisis, with 15 more states following its lead comprising Florida, Idaho Arizona and Montana.

Proponents of the content filter claim that while most devices already come with parental control, many people have trouble activating them, reports the Associated press. Critics say the bill is an attack on free speech and say the wider movement against pornography ignores more pressing issues, such as the need for better sex education. It also seems unlikely that device manufacturers, such as Apple, who have previously faced with civil liberties law enforcement, will simply comply with Utah’s demands.

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