SB 104: Restricting Utah’s Use of Smartphones and Tablets
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SB 104, introduced by Sen. Todd Weiler, is rooted in the good intentions of protecting teens from seeing content that is obscene. But the bill goes too far to achieve an otherwise simple goal, running afoul of the First Amendment in the process.
As was noted in the second committee hearing by expert witnesses, the issue with existing parental controls is not their availability on devices. The issue is that some parents run into difficulty locating those parental controls.
Yet the bill goes well beyond an attempt to solve this specific problem. Instead, the bill would create an automatic “device filter” for all devices purchased and activated in Utah, requiring every user to verify their age – which is currently only possible by showing a valid ID. Such a restriction on all devices, that is not narrowly tailored to achieve the purpose of making parental controls more accessible, is most likely unconstitutional under the First Amendment.