Utah Legislature Passes Bill to Require Cell Phone Manufacturers to Install Pornography Filters

The Utah House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill that would require cell phones and tablets sold in the Beehive State to contain filters to block pornographic material from reaching a user’s eyes. The bill had previously been approved by the state senate.

The measure, HB72, applies to “smart phones activated in the state on or after January 1 of the year following the year this bill takes effect.” However, it doesn’t truly kick in until five other states pass similar measures.

The bill would require any phone “activated in the state” to “automatically enable a filter capable of blocking material that is harmful to minors.” The filter would “prevent the user of the device from accessing material that is harmful to minors on the device; enable certain users to deactivate the filter for the device or for specific content; and notify the user when content is filtered.”

It also provides a cause of action “for the attorney general or a member of the public” to sue manufacturers who sell devices which do not contain the contemplated filter. Such lawsuits could be brought, the bill says, when “a minor accesse[s] material that is harmful to minors on the device.”

The proposed penalty, “up to $10 for each violation,” would be partially payable to the state’s Crime Victims Reparations Fund. A plaintiff could also obtain actual damages — a move which would in essence force litigators to calculate the dollar amount of the harm caused when someone unwillingly sees a pornographic image. The bill explicitly allows class action lawsuits against technology manufacturers.

Penalties would be assessed after a court examines the following:

(a) the nature and extent of the violation;
(b) the number and severity of the violations;
(c) the economic effect of the penalty on the violator;
(d) the good faith measures the violator took to comply with this part;
(e) the timing of the measures the violator took to comply with this part;
(f) the willfulness of the violator’s misconduct;
(g) the deterrent effect that the imposition of the penalty would have on both the violator and the regulated community as a whole; and
(h) any other factor that the court determines justice requires.

The bill’s authors seem to recognize that technology is not perfect. Any manufacturer who makes a “good faith effort” to provide the contemplated filtering technology would get a pass in court if an offensive image slips through the cracks.

The bill, as the Salt Lake Tribune pointed out, will potentially run into constitutional challenges.

“Even proponents of the measure . . . conceded that the bill is imperfect,” the newspaper said.

In 2016, Utah’s legislature declared pornography a “public health crisis.”

Sen. Jake Anderegg told the paper that the bill “logistically . . . just won’t work” because it forces manufacturers to turn on the contemplated software.  Manufacturers are not sellers; sellers generally handle software matters before handing phones over to consumers, he pointed out.

Still, Anderegg voted in favor of the bill, despite his concerns, because he said he didn’t “want to be the guy” to stand against the bill’s moral stance.

Sen. Kathleen Riebe said she was concerned the bill would cause an “undue burden” on interstate commerce, the paper reported.

Industry groups lobbied against the measure, the website XBIZ, which describes itself as “the world’s leading source for adult industry news and information,” reported recently.

XBIZ noted that Rep. Susan Pulsipher, “a realtor with no technology experience,” sponsored the bill. Sen. Wayne Harper introduced the measure; XBIZ described him as a “staunch anti-porn crusader.”

The ACLU of Utah is against the measure.

The bill now awaits action from the governor, Spencer Cox (R).

I want to know what certain people will be required to turn it off? Do you need to go back to the phone service provider to have it turned off, there by letting everyone know you watch the dreaded nude body? Oh dear get the magic under ware ready. Will it be entered into your account. If a kid borrows the parents phone and it is turned on will the parent be arrested? How many parents will need to ask the kids how to do it for them, just like on the TV? Hugs

10 thoughts on “Utah Legislature Passes Bill to Require Cell Phone Manufacturers to Install Pornography Filters

    • Hello inspiredbythedivine1. I hate that the religious think they have a god given right to force the non-religious rest of us to live by their church doctrines. My blood boils at their entitlement to casually think that we must follow their religious requirements as the default. While they say this is a secular country we must now teach our children, and accept that teaching, that in god we trust. They want the question of which god so they can enforce theirs. It is not about concern of others, but of enforcement of their beliefs. A scary place we are in. I read today that a tRump anti-LGBTQ+ toady was refusing to leave as Biden asked. She was suing the Kroger stores to get more religious exceptions to any policies. Biden had her fired anyway, but the damage of these guys are done. The evangelicals got a taste of power and they are not going away now. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Grog. I am often amazed at people who with out evidence and data to back up their views, try to force their bigotries on to others. I wonder if they are trying to stop a family member from watching porn when they try to ban it state wide? The church stance on sex and sex education creates a fear of healthy sexual expression and consent. The former Mormon podcasts I have listened to mention how horny young people are getting married as soon as possible just to fuck in accordance with church laws. That leads to many bad marriages and unwanted children. It is a huge problem all the way around. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Nan. Is this the Republican party doing cancel culture that the Republican party is so against? Why do these people not realize that things come with an off button? If they do not want to watch a certain TV show, just don’t watch it. If they don’t personally like seeing nude people having sex, just don’t watch nude people having sex. But instead they want to force everyone to follow their church doctrines. Their unhealthy attitudes on sex has led to a lot of very horny young people getting married just to have sex, and being stuck in bad marriages with unwanted kids. There is proven better ways. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

  • Hey Scottie — Wait! I agree with this! I think the phones should be shielded to block all images and information that is harmful to young minds. I mean, What About The Children!!
    First, we have to see what has caused so much problem for the children. Hmmm???? Oh!
    1. Thousands upon thousands have been abused by church people. We need to ban religion on phones to keep kids safe from religion and the religious. And, let’s not even discuss the war and death that have come from religions being fought over. How many kids have been orphaned, killed outright, starved, neglected.
    2. Alcohol, drugs, smoking, fast food – have all claimed abuses in the thousands, so those must all be banned. No more pharmacy – prescription drug abuse is a killer! No more beer commercials, including the super bowl! No Burger King, McDonalds. And, we all know about the Marlboro Man. But wait! The use of alcohol and drugs by adults is just as destructive to the children and even strangers of these same adults. So, there we go. Nothing for the adults either!
    3. Politicians. Oh hell no. Those damn politicians are forever getting us in hoc with other countries and next thing you know you are at war and our young people are marching off to be killed on foreign shores. So, all politics and politicians in general are out.
    4. Cars! Kids are dying on the highways, man! You can’t have kids watching things or learning things about cars. They could want to ride in one or even drive!!! Oh, and bikes. Kids die on bicycles. Swimming pools!!!!!
    5. OMG! Guns! We can’t allow the kids to know anything about guns! Do you realize just how many kids die every year from gun shots? How about the fear and anxiety that gun violence brings to their lives?? Oh, the guns got to go. Rambo be gone!
    6. Well that about does it I guess. That should remove all the horrible content from these precious little eyes. No more risk of hurting our little ones by what they see on their phones. Wait, phones…. Who are they calling. Ok, we have to block anyone who might discuss priests, religions, wars, beer, drugs, fast food, politicians, cars, bikes, swimming, and of course, guns. Yep. That should do it.
    7. Wait. What if the little bastards hack the phone? Ok. I got it. We chop all their fingers off….

    See. Completely logical. What’s the problem?


    Liked by 3 people

    • Hello Randy. I like the way you think. But this is not about reason or logic, it is about emotions. Nudity scares those people and sex is so fun until it is over or other do it then it is icky. Oh and only my type of sex or again it is icky. I don’t want people to see icky, so what I find icky should be banned, right? Then if the girls see porn they might get horny with out a husbands permission. Have to control female bodies and make sure young people feel super guilty about normal body functions.

      It is a prudishness answer that is in search of a problem to solve. It is the pushing of misinformation on to the public in support of a religious idea.

      But these are Republicans and they are all about the free market right? So let the market decide if the phones should have filters. Well as the consumer has not asked for or demanded that option it is not on the phones, so the market says no filter. Plus the thing that was not in the story is there are apps that you can install on your phone to block porn if you want it. This law is about forcing it to be on your phone against your will. Hugs


      • This is the defining comment: So let the market decide if the phones should have filters.

        The Repukes are soooo dead-set against “government” being in any kind of control — except when it entails something that affects THEM! Then ho-boy! We need Government to step in and make things the way WE want them to be … or to help when our cities are hit by hurricanes or snow storms or tornadoes or … or … or …

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hello Nan. I have noticed that same thing. The government must step in and ban abortion but mask mandates are unconstitutional and a rights violations. We need porn filters regulations but never gun regulations. I think given a minute or two I could think of a bunch of others. Hugs

          Liked by 1 person

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