Utah is proposing to add a law that every phone sold within the state has to come with filtering software, intended to block pornographic content. This has been a hot-button issue for some time. Utah’s cultural roots are based in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (otherwise known as the LDS church) and have a strict definitive code of modesty. The LDS population is against pornography, at least outwardly. Can Utah’s phone filter proposal work? This depends on how you define success.
The Proposed Filter
According to Fight the New Drug, the effects of pornography can impact anyone and everyone regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, or any other diversifying factor. The filter in question would be required to come preinstalled on devices purchased in the state. It can be disabled at any time. If the phone does not come with the software, the manufacturer leaves itself open to lawsuits. By including other states in the bill, Utah hopes standardization in manufacturer software is simpler than shipments being redesigned state by state.
The Technology Behind the Filter
Filters for pornography have been easily installed and simple to access for many years on devices and grow increasingly effective. As with all things on an adaptive internet, there are always new websites and new filter terms which must be added, and updates are exceptionally frequent. The internet is made to get around such complications as filtering software. However, according to Gizmodo, the intent is that those who do not intend to view porn will not have to view porn, not that there is no way to access it altogether.
Removal of Popups
Exceptionally high amounts of families in Utah claim to have been negatively impacted by pornography usage, although psychiatrists warn that it cannot be classified as a true addiction. There is certainly a high volume of individuals who are attempting to “resolve cognitive dissonance” in a disparity between their sex drives and culturally defined sexual practices. Often this begins in youth with an accidental discovery. Such a filter can remove accidental discovery, in hopes they can choose later to refuse sexually explicit images altogether.
Pornography is strongly linked to domestic violence, and to pressuring of spouses, often women, to perform sex acts seen. This is particularly dangerous if there is a perceived Head of Household who dictates rules. The filter can’t create a cure to this in Utah, nor in their being the highest viewership of pornography in the US. But if it can protect some young eyes for a few more years, it will indeed work.
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