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2/7/2007
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New Bill Increases Penalities For ISPs That Fail To Report Online Child Porn

The bill also widens the circle of companies that would be required to report child porn to include chat room and social networking companies, which currently are not required to report child porn.

A new bi-partisan bill unveiled on Wednesday aims to crack down on Internet service providers who fail to report online child pornography.

The new Securing Adolescents From Exploitation-Online Act of 2007, or SAFE Act of 2007, was announced by U.S. Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Representatives Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) and Nick Lampson (D-Texas) during a press conference today in Washington, D.C.

The bill would increase penalities for ISPs that knowingly and willfully fail to report online child pornography from $50,000 to $300,000.

It also widens the circle of companies that would be required to report child porn to include chat room and social networking companies, like Myspace, which are currently not required to report child porn. Also, ISPs would be required to retain infomation about child porn discoveries for six month in order to help law enformance agencies track down the criminals and build their cases, says Rep. Lampson.

The bill also proposes to give immunity to ISPs that send the pornographic images as evidence to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children's (NCMEC) congressionally mandated Cyber Tipline.

Under the bill, ISP would need to file reports to the NCMEC that include identifying information about the individual violating child porn laws, such as e-mail address or Web site; historical information, such as when an apparent child-pornographic image was uploaded, transmitted, reported, or discovered, including date and time stamp.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children would forward the report to law enforcement agencies.

The bil l-- which was introduced in both the House and Senate -- also provides more than $20 million in federal grants to law enforcement agencies to track down online child-pornographers.

"This bill has real teeth to go after these creeps," says Lampson. The bill would provide law enforcement agencies with the funding "to use the Internet for sting operations," he says.

The bill also has provisions to help law enforcement track down and stop the transmission of child porn internationally. "Child porn is rampant, it's only illegal in a small handful of countries," he says. "There are a lot of sick people out there and they seek safe havens" outside the U.S., he says. "We're looking for the tools to stregthen the ability to find them. There are too many children being murdered, too many children being harmed" by online predators, he says.

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