Utah considers bill that would install anti-porn filters on new phones

The restriction is part of a long-running campaign against pornography by Utah's conservative lawmakers.

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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 lies with Utah's Governor Spencer Cox (pictured), who can either veto or sign the bill into law by March 25th.  

Measure HB72 states that every tablet and smartphone sold in the state after January 1st, 2022 should come with a preinstalled content filter capable of "blocking material that is harmful to minors." Adults would be able to turn off the filter for specific content. However, the restriction can not go into effect until five other states have passed similar measures. 

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

Supporters of the content filter claim that while most devices already come with parental controls, many people struggle with enabling them, reports the Associated Press. Critics say the bill is an attack on free speech and claim the broader movement against pornography ignores more pressing issues, such as the need for better sexual education. It also seems unlikely that device makers, such as Apple, who have previously clashed with law enforcement over civil liberties, will simply bow to Utah's demands.

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