Blackburn’s bipartisan, bicameral bill extends reporting requirements for online child exploitation

U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) on Dec. 10 unveiled bipartisan, bicameral legislation to improve the length of time that online child exploitation evidence is retained, allowing law enforcement more time to investigate and prosecute such crimes.

“Crimes that once occurred solely in the physical space are now dominating the virtual world,” said Sen. Blackburn, chair of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Tech Task Force. “Technology companies that are a hub for youth social interactions should recognize the need to assist law enforcement in their information gathering efforts.”

Sen. Blackburn on Tuesday sponsored the Eliminate Network Distribution (END) of Child Exploitation Act, S. 3007, with bill cosponsor and task force co-chairman U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) to lengthen evidence preservation time in online child exploitation cases.

“We need to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to prosecute predators and keep them from threatening our children,” said Sen. Cortez Masto.

If enacted, technology platforms like Facebook and Tumblr would be required to preserve evidence for 180 days — double the current 90-day period — for reports of online child exploitation submitted to the CyberTipline, the nation’s main program for facilitating the reporting of online child sexual abuse content, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. Blackburn’s office.

“The END Child Exploitation Act brings anti-trafficking efforts into the 21st century so that perpetrators may be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Sen. Blackburn said.

Companion legislation, H.R. 5376, also was introduced on Dec. 10 by U.S. Reps. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) and Ann Kuster (D-NH).

The measure is supported by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Fraternal Order of Police.