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Utah legislature proposes built-in porn filters for all smartphone devices

If you’re over 18, You have to turn these things off from the get go.

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According to the Associated Press, the newly elected Utah Governor Spencer Cox will "carefully consider" the phone filter bill between now and the March 25th signing deadline.

The outlet notes that it would take five other states enacting similar phone filter laws for Utah’s measure to actually take effect. But they also point out that many other states followed Utah’s lead after the state declared porn a “public health crisis” in 2016.

First we have the positive reaction. “Utah has passed a critical, common sense solution to help protect vulnerable children from accessing harmful pornographic content on phones and tablets,” said the Executive Director at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, Dawn Hawkins.

From the contents of the amendments it’s unclear whether or not there’s enough of a distinction between a minor and an adult when it comes to tablet and smartphone devices. As far as it's written, the filters are activated automatically and adult users have to turn it off to access mature content.

Furthermore it compels device manufacturers to enact these “porn filters” on smartphone devices or else they face financial penalties.

Then we have the negative reaction. Samir Jain, policy director at the Center for Democracy and Technology, condemned the bill: "You’ve basically got the state mandating the filtering of lawful content. That raises immediate First Amendment flags."

A fundamental flaw of the proposal is that it’s location-based. It would require some kind of tracking in order to properly function in terms of jurisdictional authority.

Finally we have the neutral reaction. Utah's ACLU attorney Jason M. Groth pointed out “parental filters already exist” and every Utah can make the judgement call for themselves whether or not to turn these settings on.

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