Computer Techs Required to Report Child Pornography

March 17, 2011 at 1:06 pm

I heard some interesting news on the radio during my commute this morning. House bill 2463 is nearly ready to be signed into law. The bill requires computer techs like myself to report child pornography to the authorities along with the customer’s name and address when those images are discovered while providing prescribed services. Here is an excerpt from the amended bill which is now awaiting senate approval:

A person commits the crime of failure to report child pornography if the person, in the course of processing or producing a photograph, motion picture, videotape or other visual recording, either commercially or privately, has reasonable cause to believe that the visual recording being processed or produced, or submitted for processing or production, depicts sexually explicit conduct involving a child and fails to report that fact to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

Some consider this an invasion of privacy, but the bill doesn’t grant computer techs the right to “snoop” through your files. It is clearly stated that the law will only apply if sexually explicit photographs or video are discovered through normal work processes. No one is being granted permission to actually go looking for illegal content, and no one is allowed to monitor systems in any way either. Section 4 of the bill explains that computer techs shall be immune from liability unless their method of finding the illegal content is considered misconduct…

Any person, their employer or a third party complying with this section in good faith shall be immune from civil or criminal liability in connection with making the report, except for willful or wanton misconduct.

If you have photos of your children naked in the tub or running around the living room topless, you need not fear being reported. The definition of child pornography is very specific. Photos or videos are only considered child pornography is they depict “sexually explicit conduct involving a child”. Failure to report such content would be a class A misdemeanor and punishable by one year imprisonment or a $6,250.00 fine, or both.

I’m glad to see that computer techs are being protected by the law for reporting this kind of thing, but I’m a bit ashamed that we need a law to specifically protect us for it. You can read more about house bill 2463 here.

Obviously I’m for this bill being passed into law, but I can see why some people might consider it a invasion of privacy, totalitarian, or a bit “1984”. How do you feel about this becoming law?

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