Utah declares 'war on smut'

Get off xHamster and get married, thunders legislature

The US state of Utah is trying a different approach to its long-standing campaign against online smut, passing a resolution that says pornography is a “public health emergency”.

The rationale for the bill, according to its main provisions, is that “pornography is a public health hazard leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms”.

Thankfully for Google, which added Salt Lake City to its fibre build last year, the law doesn't actually try to impose a ban on online pornography.

Back in 2009, as noted by the BBC, Harvard Business School reckoned the Mormon state had the highest proportion of grumble-flick subscribers in America (PDF), so an outright ban would make a serious dent in its demand for bandwidth.

Since a ban would almost certainly be nixed by the Supreme Court, the law, supported by anti-smut campaigners “Fight the New Drug”, calls for more “efforts to prevent pornography exposure and addiction”.

The legislature is also concerned that watching naughty vids “is linked to lessening desire in young men to marry, dissatisfaction in marriage, and infidelity”.

Signing the bill into law, Republican Governor Gary Herbert described the volume of pornography in society as "staggering".

Taking arms against a sea of xHamsters, "the Legislature and the Governor recognize the need for education, prevention, research, and policy change at the community and societal level in order to address the pornography epidemic that is harming the people of our state and nation."

It's not the first time Utah's tried to keep its citizens pure. In 2007, a group led by then-SCO CEO Ralph Yaroo III (and publicly backed by then governor Jon Huntsman) led a failed campaign to ban smut-slingers from using HTTP's Port 80. ®

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