|Cyber Crimes Against Children||Print this page||Return|
This letter describes the work that I have been doing for the past two years in cooperation with the RI Crimes Against Children Task Force..
June 17, 2010
Dr. Sandra Flowers
Thank you for forwarding the information to me regarding "Preventing Child Victimization Associated With Technology".
During our recent conversation at City Hall, we discussed how I have been working for the past two years with the Rhode Island State Police and the Rhode Island Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and the Office of the Attorney General, to assist them in their fight against traders of Child Pornography. Rhode Island has the distinction of being one of the leading states in this country in the trading of Child Pornography.
Your email gives me an opportunity to respond with a written summary of that which we discussed and an opportunity to share that information with others whose work revolves around the protection of children.
The Rhode Island Internet Crimes Against Children (RI ICAC) Task Force is 'a multi-agency group comprised of sworn federal, state and local law enforcement officials, local prosecution officials, local educators, private information technologists and mental health professionals' whose 'primary goal is to protect children'.
I encourage you and the other members of the Newport School Committee [copied on this email' to visit the RI ICAC website at http://www.icac.ri.gov/
During my first visit to the RI ICAC task force I was able to observe the 'trafficking' that was going on in Newport. Shortly thereafter, there was a raid in a building at the corner of Broadway and Marlboro Street.
The purpose of the legislation which we have introduced was to simplify the work that the RI ICAC task force currently needs to do to obtain limited account holder information [name, address, IP address and telephone numbers associated with the account] from an Internet Service Provider, [ex.; Cox or Verizon] when there is reason to believe that known files of child pornography are being sent or received at a particular Internet protocol address.
Here is the essence of the proposed bill.
"An Internet service provider, as defined herein, shall disclose to either the attorney general or the superintendent of the Rhode Island state police, upon proper service and with certification that the information is necessary for an officially documented criminal investigation or prosecution of criminal complaint based on probable cause related to the exploitation of children, pursuant to section 11-9-1, online child enticement, pursuant to section 11-37-8.8, including those involved in the storage or distribution of child pornography, pursuant to section 11-9-1.3,"
Currently, the police are forced to go through the time consuming process of obtaining a full search warrant after consultation with a judge. This requested process is as simple as the process that the police currently use to obtain client information from the phone company when they have evidence or probable cause to believe that a phone number is being, or has been, used in a crime.
Last year, after lengthy Judiciary Committee hearings, the bill [then H6210] was brought to the House floor and passed by a 57 to 9 majority. The bill was sent to the Senate where it died because it was not acted upon.
This year, we reintroduced the same bill now know as [H7775], After another Judiciary Committee hearing, the bill was passed by the House of Representatives by a similar margin. See press the release: http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/News/pr1.asp?prid=6406
Following this repeated, overwhelming expression of support by the members of the House of Representatives, the bill was sent to the Senate. All parties involved requested a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee which was finally held in the last week of the session.
Unfortunately, the Senate Judiciary Committee [ http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/ComMembers/ComMemS.asp?ComChoiceS=SJUD ], working against the testimony of the RISP and with an ACLU lawyer, made certain modifications to the bill which, in the opinion of the RISP, made the resulting bill of no value to them.
The altered bill was sent to the Senate, passed, and returned to the House floor on the last night of our session.
Acting upon the advice of the RISP, I was left no reasonable alternative except to stand up and request that the bill be 'recommitted to the House Judiciary Committee', i.e. 'killed'. This came as a shock to those House members who know how hard we had worked to get this legislation passed.
The original bill can be seen as a link in the aforementioned press release. The bill in its altered state, to which I refer as the 'Trojan Horse', is on the RI General Assembly website at: http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText10/HouseText10/H7775A.pdf
The most damaging, and unacceptable modifications appear on lines 15 through 23 on page 2. They would, in essence, cause greater difficulty for the law enforcement personal by sending them to the judge post facto. That could result in all of the evidence being suppressed.
The failure of the Senate Judiciary Committee to support this bill in its original format is a significant loss to the Rhode Island Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Meanwhile, their work carries on. During the heavy negotiations on the last day of our session we were in heavy negotiations with the Senate. During the same time, the RI ICAC task force was hard at work making a significant arrest: http://www.projo.com/news/content/Police_digest_14_06-14-10_MVIRKCF_v10.15a7c48.html The problem carries on .
It is frustrating that our police are not getting the tools that they need to make their work easier. This is a matter of weighing the 'civil liberties' of the sickest of our society against the protection of our most innocent citizens.
I am personally frustrated, and disgusted, that the Senate Judiciary Committee does not see it that way.
For a summary of the work that we have been doing to protect children from Internet crimes: http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/News/pr1.asp?prid=6183.
Thanks again for your interest in protecting children,