Press Release
For Immediate Release
May 24, 2007
 
Contact: Robyn Ziegler
312-814-3118
877-844-5461 (TTY)
rziegler@atg.state.il.us
 

MADIGAN’S BILL TO AGGRESSIVELY COMBAT INTERNET CHILD PORNOGRAPHY PASSES HOUSE COMMITTEE

UNIQUE LOCATION DATABASE WILL AID INVESTIGATIONS AND PROSECUTIONS

Springfield – Attorney General Lisa Madigan today said Illinois is well on its way to becoming the first state to establish a database that her office and other law enforcement could employ to track down and prosecute child pornographers.

Senate Bill 697, sponsored by Senator A.J. Wilhelmi (D-Joliet) and Representative Esther Golar (D-Chicago), was passed unanimously by the Illinois House of Representatives Judiciary Committee. 

Senate Bill 697 features five key components:

  • Requires persons convicted of child exploitation offenses to provide their Internet Protocol (IP) addresses to law enforcement upon conviction.

  • Requires persons convicted of child exploitation offenses to register their IP addresses as part of the information provided to the sex offender registry.

  • Requires that offenders on parole or monitored supervised release must consent to law enforcement searches of any computers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), cellular phones and other devices that are under their control and are capable of accessing the Internet or storing electronic files.  Under the provisions of SB 697, these searches are authorized only to allow law enforcement to verify the offenders IP address and ensure compliance with other parole conditions.

  • Establishes the Illinois Cyber-Crime Location Database (ICLD) and authorizes the Attorney General to collect, store and use IP addresses to investigate and prosecute child pornographers. 

  • Creates the offense of aggravated child pornography for those who possess, manufacture or distribute child pornography involving children under the age of 13. 

The measure now moves to the full House for passage.

An IP address consists of a unique string of numbers assigned by an Internet provider to identify a particular Internet Account’s entry point onto the Internet for the exchange of data.  When an Internet user sends content via the Internet, that content carries with it the users’ IP address.  As a result, law enforcement investigators who obtain child pornography transmitted via the Internet may be able to determine the IP address used to send that pornography and follow the IP address directly to the specific Internet Account used to download or exchange the child pornography.

According to law enforcement reports, over the past two years, more than 56,000 individual IP addresses engaged in some form of trading or distribution of child pornography.  Based on this number, Madigan said, there is ample evidence to suggest that trading and distributing child pornography over the Internet is reaching epidemic proportions. 

“To track and arrest online child pornographers, we need to know their ‘virtual’ address,” Madigan said.  “IP addresses can be a critical tool in the successful investigation and prosecution of child pornography.  In many ways, IPs could be called the virtual DNA evidence at the scene of a suspected high-tech child pornographer,” Madigan continued.

By requiring defendants convicted of child exploitation offenses to register their IP addresses and by creating a database of these addresses, Illinois would be the first state to give law enforcement the ability to compile detailed records of online activity of child pornographers that can be later used in criminal trials.  Moreover, the creation of the Illinois Cyber-Crime Location Database may provide a strong deterrent to the exchange of child pornography on the Internet by Illinois offenders.

“It’s vital that we take action to protect our children from exploitation by child pornographers who use the internet,” said Wilhelmi.  “This important bill will help law enforcement to track and arrest dangerous child pornographers.”

“This bill adds important tools to law enforcement’s arsenal to fight online child pornography,” Golar said.  “With this bill, we are taking a big step forward in our fight to protect children.”

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