Utah’s Potential Anti-Porn Filter Law


 

Utah’s GOP-controlled legislature recently passed a bill requiring all devices sold in the state to automatically block pornography. It awaits the Governor’s signature to become law. Measure HB72 will require every tablet and smartphone sold in Utah to have a pre-installed content filter capable of “blocking material that is harmful to minors.”

What does that mean? Here’s how the Utah Criminal Code defines “Offenses Against Public Health, Safety, Welfare, and Morals,” specifically “Pornographic and Harmful Materials and Performances”:

(a) “Harmful to minors” means that quality of any description or representation, in whatsoever form, of nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or sadomasochistic abuse when it:

(i) taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest in sex of minors;
(ii) is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable material for minors; and
(iii) taken as a whole, does not have serious value for minors.

(b) Serious value includes only serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value for minors.

Leaving out the morality, legality, and even parental need to abdicate their responsibilities and let an algorithm decide what their kids should and should not see, how would you reduce the design specification listed above to an engineering specification? Leave your “this is right or wrong” personal feelings out of it. Pretend you were handed this project. Technically, how would you approach reducing section (a) above to practice?

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is a business advisor and technology consultant. He helps Fortune 500 companies with digital transformation, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn's Top Voice in Technology, he is the host of the Shelly Palmer #strategyhacker livestream and co-host of Techstream with Shelly Palmer & Seth Everett. He covers tech and business for Good Day New York, writes a weekly column for Adweek, is a regular commentator on CNN and CNBC, and writes a popular daily business blog. Follow @shellypalmer or visit shellypalmer.com

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