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Lawmaker hopes to restrict porn access in Utah

Lawmaker hopes to restrict porn access in Utah (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) The lawmaker who got porn declared a public health crisis in Utah is ready to take the idea a step forward. State Sen. Todd Weiler wants to make it more difficult to get porn in Utah.

He wants to force users to request access to porn from their internet provider, get filters in cell phones and tablets and at libraries. First Amendment champions say they don't think it's possible. Attorney Andrew McCullough's law practice works for the more provocative side of First Amendment law.

"I get up every morning and fight the man," McCullough said.

The man in this case could be Weiler.

"When we passed the resolution a lot of people said, 'So what does this really do?' " Weiler said.

He has some ideas like telling internet providers they need to require customers to opt in if they wanted to get porn on devices.

"So the technology has sort of circumvented a lot of barriers we have constructed as a society 30 or 40 or 50 years ago. If an 11-year-old tries to go to a rated-R movie, they can be turned away, and yet they can pull out their smart phone and watch really hard pornography with two or three clicks."

McCullough said he doesn't think it is necessary to infringe on adult's rights in order to protect children. He said he doesn't view pornography as a major problem and he said besides the constitutional arguments, he simply doesn't think you can opt in or out of porn.

Weiler said the bill isn't written yet and he wants to get comment from everyone. He said in the end it's about one thing:

"All of my work is geared at trying to protect children from pornography. Adults can do whatever they want to in the privacy of their own homes."

"It is just wonderful to use that catch phrase, 'We've got to protect the children,' " said Weiler.

Pete Ashdown, owner of internet provider XMission, says the idea is peppered with problems. He said it makes the internet providers liable if someone opts out of porn and then manage to get it. He said cell phones don't have the memory necessary to filter out the massive options for porn.

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