UTAH LEGISLATURE

Utah bill requiring cell phone manufacturers enact content filters for minors advances

Jan 31, 2024, 8:38 PM | Updated: Feb 1, 2024, 6:09 am

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah lawmaker is trying to make it illegal for cell phone manufacturers to activate phones in Utah without content filtering for minors turned on.

SB104, sponsored by Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, passed unanimously out of a Senate committee Wednesday, advancing to a full Senate vote.

Weiler is trying to make cell phone manufacturers accountable, even fining them if they activate a phone in Utah without content filters for minors turned on.

The bill requires all new devices in the state to “contain a filter, determine the age of a user during activation and set up, automatically activate the filter for a minor,” as well as notify the user when the device blocks a website and allow non-minors to de-active filters with a password.

He says his bill is about protecting kids from explicit content.

“We’d like to make it easier for parents just to have it already activated. Just like if you buy a car, you don’t have to ask for the seatbelts,” he told KSL TV. “A lot of people don’t know that their Apple phone is already coming with a filter installed. But it takes like 22 steps to activate it.”

Weiler’s bill would allow parents to bring a civil claim against the cell phone manufacturers, and it would fine them $5,000 per violation if they don’t install filters.

“Quite frankly, the penalties are to get their attention because we want them to pay attention to the bill. We don’t want anybody fined. We don’t want anybody in prison. We just want them to find a way to help protect our kids from pornography,” Weiler said.

The objections to Weiler’s bill came in the form of public comment both in a prior Senate hearing and one Wednesday. Some argue that workers at cell phone stores could be penalized for selling a phone without filters on them.

Weiler’s substituted version addressed that.

The bill says workers would be liable if they “enable the password to remove the filter on a device in the possession of a minor” and the minor accesses content that is obscene.

Other objections came mostly from tech industry experts and trade groups arguing that the bill did not meet constitutional muster because it could be seen as a restriction on free speech.

Ultimately, the bill passed the committee 5-0 and moved to a full Senate vote.

How to access current filters

The following is a step-by-step guide to accessing the filters on an iPhone.

1. Go to the Settings app and tap on “Screen Time.”
2. Tap “Content & Privacy Restrictions” and enter your Screen Time passcode if prompted.
3. Turn on the toggle for “Content & Privacy Restrictions.”
4. Select “Content Restrictions” and choose the type of content you want to restrict (e.g., music, movies, etc.).
5. Select Websites and tap on Limit Adult Content. Specific websites can also be entered here.
6. Tap “Allowed Apps” and select which apps you want to allow your child to use.
7. Tap “Always Allowed” and select any features or services you want your child to be able to access at all times (e.g., AirDrop).
8. Finally, tap “Don’t Allow Changes” at the top of the screen so that no one can change these settings without entering your passcode again.

For Android or Google users, Chrome has a SafeSearch feature that prevents certain words and content. There are also parental controls in the Google Play store where you can restrict which apps are downloaded.

  1. Open your Google Chrome app.
  2. Tap the “More” icon and click “Settings” from the list of options.
  3. Choose General and tap SafeSearch among the list.

KSL 5 TV Live

Utah Legislature

Prosecutors filed felony charges in a Salt Lake City rape case from 2019, but later reduced them to...

Daniella Rivera

Could making this change help Utah improve sexual assault prosecutions?

Only a fraction of sexual assaults reported to police in Utah result in criminal charges for the perpetrator, but a legislative proposal could potentially change that.

1 month ago

Utah legislators, supporters of the new law, and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson at a press conference to...

Daniel Woodruff

New Utah school safety law earns praise from victims’ families, but cost concerns persist

Family members who lost children in the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history came to Utah to celebrate a new law aimed at making schools safer.

1 month ago

Lehi homes...

Daniel Woodruff

Governor highlights bills to help Utah homebuyers, but will they make a difference?

Gov. Spencer Cox on Thursday highlighted several new bills he just signed into law that are aimed at getting more buyers into the market.

2 months ago

A new law is changing the amount of hunter orange that an individual is required to wear during spe...

Mark Jones

Several wildlife-related bills passed into law during 2024 legislative session

A number of wildlife management-related bills have been signed into law by Gov. Spencer Cox, following the completion of the 2024 Utah Legislature.

2 months ago

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sam Gill...

Daniel Woodruff

Salt Lake Co. DA reacts after governor signs controversial bill targeting his office  

Salt Lake County’s top prosecutor is reacting after the governor signed a controversial bill imposing new rules on his office.

2 months ago

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signing bills and vetoing seven while in his office....

Bridger Beal-Cvetko, KSL.com

Gov. Spencer Cox vetoes 7 bills he thinks are unnecessary from recent legislative session

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox has vetoed several bills passed by lawmakers, after encouraging lawmakers to pass fewer bills in the future legislative sessions.

2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Utah bill requiring cell phone manufacturers enact content filters for minors advances