Governor Steve Beshear today ceremonially signed House Bill 39, giving law enforcement in Kentucky a valuable tool in fighting crimes involving children and the Internet.
The measure helps child pornography statutes catch up to current technology, particularly where a perpetrator is using "cloud computing" that allows child pornography images to be viewed but not actually located on a computer's hard drive.
"In order to combat child pornography and protect our most vulnerable citizens, it's critical that our laws evolve with technology," Gov. Beshear said. "This law does that by allowing law enforcement to arrest persons who intentionally view these images, even if they don't physically possess the pictures."
House Bill 39 also prohibits registrants on the Sex Offender Registry from intentionally photographing minors without the written consent of the parent, unless the registrant is the parent or guardian, and allows for asset forfeiture in these cases.
In addition, the law gives the Kentucky State Police commissioner administrative subpoena power in very limited cases when a child may be in danger.
"We have to be extra vigilant when it comes to keeping the law up to date as technology changes, and nowhere is that more important than in our children's safety," said Rep. Kevin Sinnette, the bill's sponsor. "I sponsored this legislation because I want to make sure that the law is airtight when it comes to prosecuting child pornographers. I hope it proves to be a valuable tool for law enforcement."
Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer noted that April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect, and that the Kentucky Internet Crimes Again Children (ICAC) Task Force is located within the Kentucky State Police Electronic Crime Branch.
As part of its role on the task force, Brewer said, the Electronic Crime Branch conducts investigations, makes Internet safety awareness presentations and provides digital forensic services for law enforcement agencies throughout the Commonwealth.