Bill to Mandate Electronic Service Providers to Report Online Child Exploitation

Jun 02, 2023 at 03:48 pm by WGNS News


U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) introduced the Revising Existing Procedures on Reporting via Technology (REPORT) Act.

This legislation will make several updates to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) CyberTipline, which would help them account for changes in technology and the way reporting takes place. Specifically, the bill makes the reporting of online child exploitation and sex trafficking of children mandatory for electronic service providers, increases penalties for failure to report, increases the retention period for CyberTipline reports, enables minors and their parents to report online exploitation, and minimizes access to child sexual abuse images during intake and investigations.

The REPORT Act builds upon Senator Blackburn’s END Child Exploitation Act, which unanimously passed the Senate in 2022.

“Children are increasingly living their lives behind screens, and the jarring reality is that this leaves more innocent kids at risk of online exploitation. We must ensure the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and law enforcement are equipped to adequately respond. This legislation takes much-needed steps to modernize anti-trafficking efforts so that perpetrators may be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Senator Blackburn.

“We must work relentlessly to end the sexual abuse of children. That’s why I’m helping bring Republicans and Democrats together to strengthen child protection laws. This bipartisan legislation with Senator Blackburn will help law enforcement crack down on abusers and traffickers who target children,” said Senator Ossoff.

The REPORT Act has been endorsed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), International Justice Mission (IJM), ECPAT-USA, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), and Wired Human.

“The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) is proud to support the Revising Existing Procedures on Reporting via Technology (REPORT) Act and thanks Senator Blackburn and Senator Ossoff for their leadership in introducing this critically needed legislation. The volume of online child sexual exploitation continues to rise exponentially, and last year NCMEC’s CyberTipline received over 32 million reports containing more than 88 million images/videos and other content concerning child sexual exploitation. The REPORT Act will modernize how CyberTipline data is handled by NCMEC and investigated by law enforcement; enable minors to report sexually exploitative content in which they are depicted to NCMEC; modernize efforts to identify child victims and maintain CyberTipline reports; and facilitate law enforcement investigations by extending retention time for information reported to the CyberTipline from 90 days to one year. NCMEC is proud to support the REPORT Act, and we look forward to continuing our work with Senator Blackburn and Senator Ossoff to see this timely legislation become law,” said Michelle DeLaune, President & CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

“Online child sexual exploitation is a global crime, requiring a coordinated global response by government, civil society and the private sector. Of the 29.3 million reports that the CyberTipline received in 2021, 93% resolved to a location outside of the U.S. The sheer amount of CyberTipline reports consistently outpace law enforcement’s capacity to respond in almost every country, especially in developing contexts. IJM has firsthand experience working alongside under-resourced law enforcement partners in responding to this challenge. In partnership with NCMEC, IJM’s Center to End Online Sexual Exploitation of Children provides specialized training that builds capacity for investigators as they learn to access, review, and act on CyberTipline reports through NCMEC’s Case Management Tool. The REPORT Act will help give law enforcement much needed time to triage and respond to CyberTipline reports. Critically, the REPORT Act will also improve the quality of reports ESPs submit, which can have a downstream impact of more victims identified and arrests made,” said John Tanagho, Executive Director of International Justice Mission’s (IJM) Center to End Online Sexual Exploitation of Children.

“The REPORT Act ensures online platforms will preserve vital evidence necessary to combat the exploitation of children online and bring perpetrators to justice,” said Lori L. Cohen, CEO of ECPAT-USA.

“The REPORT Act would greatly aid in the fight against child sexual abuse by making it mandatory for companies to report imminent crimes involving child sexual abuse to NCMEC, and increase penalties for failing to report such material. The Act would also greatly modernize the ability of NCMEC to investigate CSAM. Our country needs every tool available to confront child sexual abuse,” said Benjamin Bull, General Counsel for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE).

"When it comes to protecting our children online, The REPORT Act is common sense in action. Not only does it strengthen existing CSAM reporting procedures, it also places critical onus on Big Tech to report CSAM or face the rightful consequences,” said Jason Frost, LL.M., Co-Founder and President of Wired Human in Nashville, Tennessee.


  • The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) CyberTipline is the nation’s centralized reporting system for the online exploitation of children. It was last updated in 2018.

  • Using this system, electronic communication service providers can make reports of activities such as child sexual abuse materials (CSAM), child sex trafficking, enticement of children for sexual acts, and unsolicited obscene materials sent to a child.

    • Currently, criminal law requires electronic communication service providers to report, as soon as reasonably possible, any CSAM they know is on their sites. The law allows for voluntary reporting of imminent crimes involving child sexual abuse material (i.e., enticement or grooming).

    • NCMEC makes all reports filed available to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.

    • A knowing and willful failure to report results in fines: $150,000 for the first incident and $300,000 for any second or subsequent violation.

The REPORT Act would make the following needed reforms:

  • Convert the reporting requirements from permissive to mandatory

  • Add sex trafficking of children and enticement crimes to the reporting obligations within 180 days of the bill’s enactment

  • Increase penalties for failure to report exploitative content to $600,000 for small organizations and $850,000 for large organizations on the first offense; $850,000 for small organizations and $1 million for large organizations on the second offense

  • Increase the retention period for CyberTipline reports from 90 days to one year

  • Limit liability for certain types of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) reporting to NCMEC and the storage and transfer of CSAM to law enforcement:

    • Allows for the cloud storage of CSAM by NCMEC and the transfer of those images to law enforcement from cloud storage

    • Allows for the reporting of CSAM by minors, or persons acting on behalf of a minor, to the CyberTipline

  • Limit access to CSAM by requiring NCMEC’s vendor to minimize the number of employees that may access any visual depiction the vendor stores or transfers

    • Similarly, NCMEC must minimize employee access to visual depictions reported by a minor or person acting on the minor’s behalf and ensure it is deleted upon law enforcement request

Full text of the REPORT Act is available here.

SOURCE: Senator Blackburn's Office


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