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New Bill Requires Porn Filters on Digital Devices Purchased in Utah

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New Bill Requires Porn Filters on Digital Devices Purchased in Utah

By Movieguide® Staff

The state of Utah has passed legislation that would require smart devices purchased in the state to have filter mechanisms to prohibit users’ access to pornography and other information that could put minors’ safety at risk.  

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation, an activist group that works nationally to expose sexual exploitation in the United States, commended Utah’s House Bill 72 that takes an unprecedented step to protect children from sexual content online. 

“Utah has passed a critical, common sense solution to help protect vulnerable children from accessing harmful pornographic content on phones and tablets,” NCOSE Senior Vice President and Executive Director Dawn Hawkins said

“This is an incremental step,” Benjamin Bull, NCOSE’s senior vice president, told The Christian Post. “It won’t cure the problem. The only thing that will stop the total problem is aggressive federal enforcement of existing laws to stop companies like Porn Hub … from polluting the internet with hardcore pornography. This is an incremental step that will protect some children. It’s a first step that we can build off going forward.”

While smartphones and tablets have filters to restrict content, Bill 72 would require the default setting to be turned “on.”

“We’re demanding that providers of electronic communications, anything accessing the internet, should have greater ability to protect children and families from unwanted pornographic material,” Bull said.

This legislation is the first of its kind regarding the amount of control it offers parents to protect their children. Adults are given the PIN that allows them to deactivate the filter.  

“This ensures that the devices are effective for protecting minors while being unrestrictive on adults,” Hawkins shared. “While these filters are already available on most devices now, on an Apple device, for example, it takes 20+ complicated steps to turn them on, leaving most parents helpless to protect their kids online.”

Hawkins continued: “There are countless heartbreaking stories of the harm caused by children’s unhindered access to Internet devices — including the individual and familial trauma of pornography exposure and addiction and adult predators targeting and grooming kids online. We commend the Utah legislature for passing this bill that will aid parents in protecting their children from unwanted exposure to pornography.”

The Christian Post reported

The bill also allows a civil penalty of up to $10 for each violation of the legislation. A portion of the fine would be provided to the Crime Victims Reparations Fund.

Rep. Susan Pulsipher was the chief sponsor of the bill passed last week. The bill awaits a signature from Republican Gov. Spencer Cox. 

The bill will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, if five other states implement similar measures. Utah’s Senate passed the legislation 19-6 after the bill passed the House with a 41-30 vote.  

“There is no doubt in my mind that five states will enact this or similar legislation,” Bull explained. “Once again, Utah is a leader in this area.”

“In order to gain sufficient legislative support to pass it, we agreed that it would become effective when five other states pass similar legislation and that would create a sufficient market force …,” Bull said. “They would have to adapt their business practices to a basically six-state market.”

Movieguide® previously reported:

While Movieguide® maintains a biblical worldview, secular scientists are agreed on the dangerous effects pornography has on someone’s brain development. 

Moreover, one of Pornhub’s 80 employed moderators recognized that the effects go beyond the physical.

“The job in itself is soul-destroying,” one moderator told the journalist.

This is not a new idea, nor has it gone unnoticed by organizations who actively fight against it, such as Exodus Cry—an international non-profit fighting human trafficking. But the report is a major victory in bringing this issue to the attention of the mainstream media.

Bull added: “We feel like we have started a good legislative movement, and we think it’s going to encourage other states. And I think it’s going to happen rapidly.” 

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