December 5, 2007
Washington, D.C. -- By a vote of 402 to 2, the House of Representatives today passed bipartisan legislation authored by Congressman Nick Lampson (D-TX) and Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) that targets Internet child predators. H.R. 3791, the Securing Adolescents From Exploitation-Online Act (SAFE Act), strengthens protections for children while they are online by providing law enforcement with improved resources, while also increasing the penalties for service providers that host child pornography on their servers.
“The Internet has unfortunately contributed to a worldwide expansion of child pornography -- enabling predators to more easily abuse, exploit, and prey on our children,” said Chabot, Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus for Missing and Exploited Children. “The SAFE Act will provide law enforcement with better tools and information to catch child predators and put them behind bars.”
Specifically, the SAFE Act builds on reporting requirements already in place under existing law. Electronic communication services are currently required to report any facts and circumstances regarding alleged Internet crimes against children to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's Cyber Tip Line.
The SAFE Act enhances the penalties against electronic communication services for knowingly and willfully failing to report an incident, authorizing criminal penalties in the amount of $150,000 for a first offense and $300,000 for any subsequent offense. The bill also requires electronic communication services to maintain the information as long as deemed necessary by law enforcement. These electronic communication services are often the only source that law enforcement has to assist in their investigations. This legislation gives law enforcement added measures to complete their investigations and track criminal activity.