Committee Passes Bipartisan Bill to Protect Children from Child Pornography
by Lamar Smith on July 29, 2011 at 10:25 AM
The House Judiciary Committee today passed a bill to help investigators track down dangerous pedophiles and protect children from sexual exploitation. The bill passed by a vote of 19-10. The Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 (H.R. 1981) directs Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to retain subscriber information for up to 12 months in order to assist federal law enforcement in online child pornography and child exploitation investigations. This is similar to existing federal law that requires telephone companies to retain caller information for up to 18 months.
H.R. 1981 also makes it a federal crime to financially facilitate the sale, distribution and purchase of child pornography. The bill increases the maximum penalty for certain child pornography offenses.
Child pornography may be the fastest growing crime in America, increasing an average of 150% per year. These disturbing images litter the Internet and pedophiles can purchase, view or exchange this material with virtual anonymity.
This is partly because investigators do not have adequate tools to track down dangerous pedophiles that prey on the most innocent in our society. Investigators need the assistance of ISPs to identify users and distributers of online child pornography.
When investigators develop leads that might result in saving a child or apprehending a pedophile, their efforts should not be frustrated because vital records were destroyed simply because there was no requirement to retain them. This bill requires ISPs to retain subscriber records, similar to records retained by telephone companies, to aid law enforcement officials in their fight against child sexual exploitation.
Every piece of prematurely discarded information could be the footprint of a child predator. This bill ensures that the online footprints of predators are not erased.
H.R. 1981 is supported by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the National Center for Victims of Crime, the National Sheriff’s Association, the Major County Sheriff’s Association, the International Union of Police Associations and the Fraternal Order of Police.