Sacramento - The state legislature has adopted a bill by Assemblymember Toni Atkins to add computer technicians to the list of people mandated to report to law enforcement child pornography that they encounter in the course of their work. On a unanimous bipartisan vote, AB 1817 was sent to the Governor, who has until the end of September to sign or veto the bill.
“We live in a digital age and it’s time to update our laws to reflect the world we live in by making computer technicians mandated reporters of child pornography,” says Atkins. “Online images last forever and each time child pornography is viewed that child is re-victimized. My bill is about protecting those kids.”
Commercial film and photo processors are already mandated reporters under state law, but predators who sexually exploit children have evolved with the times, hiding most of the images which they create and exchange on personal computers and the Internet. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 9.6 million images of child pornography had been identified by 2007. Millions more are believed to be in circulation. And it is estimated that 200 new images of children being sexually abused are circulated each day to meet the insatiable demand of the child pornography market. A study commissioned by the United States Department of Justice revealed that 96% of those images are in digital form.
In adopting this law, California would join ten other states in designating computer technicians as mandated reporters. The bill is supported by law enforcement and a broad coalition of groups working to end child pornography and sexual exploitation.