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Utah Passes Law Banning Pornography On Cellphones

by : Julia Banim on : 24 Mar 2021 16:57
Utah Passes Law Banning Pornography On CellphonesShutterstock/PA Images

The governor of Utah has signed a divisive measure to ban pornography on cellphones in the state.

Under the new legislation, signed Tuesday, March 23, all cellphones and tablets sold in Utah would be required to automatically block pornography.

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Republican governor Spencer Cox said the measure will send out an ‘important message’ about preventing children from being able to access explicit content. However, many critics regard it as being an intrusion of free speech.

Spencer CoxPA Images

The ruling won’t come into effect unless five other US states enact similar legislation, a provision reportedly added to address concerns that this would be a difficult law to implement, AP reports.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Utah stated the constitutionality of the bill had not been adequately considered, and has said that it will probably be argued in court.

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ACLU attorney Jason Groth said:

This is another example of the Legislature dodging the constitutional impacts of the legislation they pass.

Adult film star Cherie DeVille is among those criticising the measure, and had reportedly called upon the governor to veto the measure, arguing that it could be in violation of residents’ First Amendment rights.

However, Cox has stated that, seeing as the proposal won’t be enacted straight away, he isn’t too worried when it comes to constitutional concerns.

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The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Susan Pulsipher, said she was ‘grateful’ that Cox had signed the legislation, and that she hopes it will help parents keep their kids from being exposed to porn unintentionally.

Pulsipher also said the bill passes constitutional muster as adults are able to deactivate the porn filters, despite experts stating that it still raises various legal concerns.

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Supporters of the bill have argued such restrictive action is an important step towards helping parents make sure their children avoid explicit content, especially given that more kids now have their own electronic devices.

Utah lawmakers have long held a stance against porn, having previously mandated warning labels on both print and online publications. Furthermore, in 2016, Utah became to first state to declare porn a ‘public health crisis’. Since then, more than a dozen states have followed suit.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: News, Pornography, Utah

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AP
  1. AP

    Utah governor signs divisive measure to require porn filters