Legislators in Utah approved a bill on Thursday requiring cell phones and tablets sold within the state to contain filters that block pornography.
HB72 specifies that when a device is activated in the state, it must "automatically enable a filter capable of blocking material that is harmful to minors."
And the filter is designed to "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."
Dawn Hawkins, senior vice president, and executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) was overjoyed by the bill's passage which will prevent children from viewing inappropriate and disturbing content.
"Utah has passed a critical, common-sense solution to help protect vulnerable children from accessing harmful pornographic content on phones and tablets," Hawkins said.
She added that Utah's measure aims to protect children from the harmful effects of viewing pornography and the possible trauma that can ensue.
"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," Hawkins said. "We commend the Utah legislature for passing this bill that will aid parents in protecting their children from unwanted exposure to pornography."
The bill carries a penalty of up to $10 for each violation that would be partially payable to the Crime Victims Reparations Fund.
HB72 would become effective on Jan. 1, 2022, as long as five other states enforce similar actions. Utah's Senate passed the bill 19-6 after it was passed the House with a 41-30 vote.
The bill awaits a signature from Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R).
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