Senate Bill 178 might be a major advance for privacy, but unless it is amended, it will be a catastrophic setback for California's fight against child sexual exploitation.
Problems with S.B. 178 include:
• It would require police to notify child pornography suspects they are coming. Likelihood of destruction of evidence could delay notification, but it is not assumed and must be proven in additional court proceedings.
• The bill's "emergency" provision requires policy to prove a child is in danger of death or "serious physical injury." Rape and sexual abuse rarely cause "serious physical injury" and California law distinguishes between the two. If police cannot prove after the fact that a child was in danger of "serious physical injury," S.B. 178 requires judges to destroy evidence, ending the case.
• The bill prohibits police from accessing so-called "device information" that is currently offered freely to the world by child pornography traders. This, along with data retention limits, would bar California's five ICAC task forces from participating in national and international law enforcement platforms and effectively end their very effective child pornography trader undercover operations.
• The bill eliminates most law enforcement subpoena power in child pornography cases.
As it currently stands, this bill is opposed by the National Association to Protect Children, the California District Attorneys Association, the California Police Chiefs Association, and the California State Sheriffs Association.
Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
California's five ICAC task forces are on the front lines of the fight against child sexual exploitation:
• Los Angeles
• San Diego
• San Jose
Working with a national and international network of counter-child-exploitation professionals, the ICACs have identified tens of thousands of suspects in California trafficking in video and images of children (often infants and toddlers) being raped, tortured and abused. Over half are hands-on offenders with local child victims.
The ICAC mission: find and stop these predators and rescue their victims.
For further information, please contact:
Director of Government Relations, PROTECT