Congress Demands Internet Companies Retain Information on Proliferators of Child Sexual Abuse Material For a Year

NEWS RELEASE

 

 

Congress Demands Internet Companies Retain Information on Proliferators of Child Sexual Abuse Material For a Year

Washington, D.C.— A bipartisan group of Congressional members introduced the END Child Exploitation Act. This bill would require internet service providers (ISPs) to retain metadata on those who proliferate child sexual abuse materials (CSAM) for a full year. Under current law, they are free to delete this information after 90 days, which hampers law enforcement’s ability to prosecute these crimes.

“We are seeing an avalanche of child sexual abuse material coming from every corner of the internet,” said Scott Berkowitz, RAINN founder and president. “Internet service providers have a responsibility to do everything in their power to enable investigations of child sexual abuse online. Requiring ISPs to retain information for a year will not place any significant burden on them, and it will keep many more children from being abused and exploited. I would hope that every ISP would support this legislation.”

In 2022, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) received 32 million Cyber-Tipline reports of apparent CSAM. The Child Rescue Coalition reports more than 325,000 suspects have been identified as being involved in online trafficking of child sex abuse recordings, yet fewer than seven percent of these reports have been investigated.

Currently, when an ISP sends a report to NCMEC concerning CSAM or child sexual exploitation, they are required to save the report contents for 90 days so that law enforcement can pursue these cases. Given the volume of reports, however, that’s not enough time for law enforcement to investigate.

“This means predators who are making and sharing videos and pictures of child sexual abuse continue to go free and the children in these images remain in danger,” said Samantha Cadet, director of federal affairs, appropriations, and national coalitions for RAINN. “The increased retention period will provide law enforcement with greater opportunity to stop the further dissemination of child sexual abuse materials and rescue the children seen in these horrific images and videos.”

RAINN has been advocating for the extension of the data retention requirement and garnered support from members of Congress. RAINN is working with the bill sponsors—Representatives Lucy McBath (D-GA), Barry Moore (R-AL), Glenn Ivey (D-MD), Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ), Ann Wagner (R-MO), and Sylvia Garcia (D-TX)—on this time-sensitive issue.

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About RAINN

RAINN, the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization, created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help survivors, help organizations improve their sexual assault prevention and response programs, and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice. If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, free, confidential help is available 24/7 by calling 800.656.HOPE (4673) or visiting online.RAINN.org.

 
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