(Tennessee) U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), along with Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), as well as Representatives Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio-16), Annie Kuster (N.H.-02), Guy Reschenthaler (Pa.-14), and Lucy McBath (Ga.-06) celebrated the Senate’s passage of the END Child Exploitation Act. This legislation doubles the mandatory time period for preserving information about child sexual abuse images that technology companies report to the CyberTipline of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
Additionally, technology companies may retain the contents of the online sexual exploitation of children for longer than 180 days if necessary to prevent further exploitation.
“Children are increasingly living their lives behind screens, and the jarring reality is this leaves more innocent kids at risk of online exploitation,” said Senator Blackburn. “The bill is a significant step forward in our efforts to protect our children online because it allows law enforcement to collect evidence needed to hunt down online predators. I am pleased this legislation has unanimously passed the Senate, and I encourage the House to promptly take up this critical legislation so that it can get to the President’s desk.”
“I’ve stood up for trafficking victims since I was Nevada’s Attorney General, and I know how difficult investigations into online child abuse can be,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “This bill is going to make it easier for our law enforcement agencies to hold perpetrators of child exploitation accountable, and I urge the House to pass it swiftly. I’ll keep doing everything I can to protect children from trafficking and abuse.”
“Protecting our children from abusers must be a top priority, and part of that work includes ensuring that law enforcement has access to the evidence that they need to crack down on perpetrators,” said Senator Hassan. “This bipartisan legislation is an important step toward strengthening our efforts to end child exploitation, and I will keep pushing to get it signed into law.”
Read the full text of the bill HERE.
- The END Child Exploitation Act was first introduced in December 2019 following the release of a New York Times investigative report highlighting disturbing growth in online child exploitation across the country. The report found that technology companies reported more than 69 million images and videos depicting abuse in 2019.
- Currently, these companies are required to retain information on these images for 90 days after reporting the material to NCMEC. However, this time is often not enough for habitually under-resourced law enforcement to conduct the necessary investigative process.”
- The END Child Exploitation Act doubles this time frame to 180 days and ensures these companies are legally able to retain the material longer if needed to prevent the proliferation or spread of child exploitation material.
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