Utah Passes Law Requiring Pornography Filters on Phones, Tablets to Protect Kids

By Danielle Jarvis

The state of Utah has approved a bill that will require cell phones and tablets sold within the state to contain filters that block pornography.

The news has been welcomed by The National Cente on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), which has applauded Utah’s passage of the Device Filter Amendments (HB 72). Under Utah law, manufacturers of smartphones and tablets activated in the state of Utah will need to enable existing filters that block out sexually explicit material that is “harmful to minors”.

“Utah has passed a critical, common sense solution to help protect vulnerable children from accessing harmful pornographic content on phones and tablets,”said Dawn Hawkins, senior vice president and executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

Currently, virtually all devices have filters, but they are turned to OFF when sold. This bill simply requires the filters to be turned ON when activated in Utah. Adults are not prohibited from accessing such material and are given a PIN to remove the filter for their own use if they choose to do so. Children will not receive PINs to deactivate the filters.

“This ensures that the devices are effective for protecting minors while being unrestrictive on adults. 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 explained.

“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.” Hawkins added.

The bill will now go to the Utah governor for signature.