POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Senator: Cellphone manufacturers should turn on all filters for minors

Jan 24, 2024, 8:00 AM

Cell phone manufacturers bill...

(AdobeStock)

(AdobeStock)

SALT LAKE CITY—  A state senator said he’s working on a bill that would require cellphone manufacturers to turn on every available content filter before selling a phone that will belong to a minor. Previously, Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, pushed for age-verification rules on porn websites and now wants cellphones to have increased protections for kids.

“So, people don’t realize this,” said Weiler, but if you buy a new iPhone, it comes with filters. Nobody knows about them, nobody knows how to turn them on.”

Weiler added that this bill would put the responsibility for activating the preexisting filters on manufacturers, not parents.

“If you’re buying a cell phone for your twelve-year-old, for example, or for your fourteen-year-old,” Weiler said, “it would require those filters to be turned on at the point of purchase. Rather than sending someone home with that and hoping that somebody else figures out that those filters are there and how to turn them on.”

The bill  SB104, or the “Children Device Protection Act,” would also empower parents to sue manufacturers if their child is still able to access what Weiler calls “obscene” content online. The potential damages would be $50,000 per each violation of the bill.

However, after public testimony at a Senate Committee about the bill, the Deseret News reports that Weiler decided to fix some areas of confusion before advancing it. Specifically, Weiler hopes to clarify the penalties and that retailers would not carry liability for cellphones sold.

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Senator: Cellphone manufacturers should turn on all filters for minors