Utah Lawmaker Wants Porn Blocked From The Internet, Looks To U.K. Anti-Porn Laws For Guidance

A Utah lawmaker would like to see pornography blocked in the Beehive State and has been looking at anti-pornography measures already in place in the United Kingdom, the Independent is reporting.

You may recall that last month, Republican Senator Todd Weiler was the chief architect behind a piece of legislation declaring porn a “public health crisis,” a bill that was ultimately signed into law by Utah Governor Gary Herbert.

As Herbert explained at the time, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, the declaration was merely ceremonial and has no practical effect.

“[The declaration] is nonbinding. We’re not spending money, and we’re not banning anything.”

Now, however, Todd Weiler would like to see Utah’s anti-porn laws move from the realm of the ceremonial into something more practical. And he’s looking toward existing anti-pornography laws in the U.K. as a model for Utah.

Already in the United Kingdom, laws are in place that seek to limit how much how much Britons can access pornography over the internet. Specifically, internet providers in the U.K. are required to block internet pornography; users who want to browse porn must notify their internet providers specifically to opt out.

Under Weiler’s proposed set of rules, internet users in Utah would similarly have to opt out of government-mandated internet porn filters. Taking things a step further, pornographic content would be hidden behind age-verification filters.

Utah Porn
Todd Weiler of Utah wants to make pornography harder to access. [AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File]

Weiler’s plan is not without its critics. For starters, blocking software is not foolproof, and it can’t be expected to reliably block 100 percent of all porn sites. Similarly, age-verification blocks rely on the honesty of the user. If you’ve ever tried to access an age-restricted website, it’s apparent that anyone can input any age above the legal cutoff and be allowed in.

Practical matters aside, there’s a larger issue when it comes to attempting to legally restrict access to internet pornography in Utah or anywhere else in the United States: the First Amendment, which specifies that the government cannot prohibit free speech.

Weiler already has an answer for critics who suggest that Utah’s proposed pornography laws are unconstitutional, according to Think Progress.

[Photo by Virginia Mayo/AP Images]