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Bipartisan Bill Targets Online Spread of Child Sex Abuse Material

Michael H. Keller, The New York Times

Washington, December 10, 2019
Legislation was introduced on Tuesday that would hold tech companies more responsible for an explosion in online child sexual abuse material and give law enforcement agencies more opportunity to gather evidence of crimes.

The bill, proposed by a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House and Senate, would require companies to retain information about illegal photos and videos found on their platforms for a longer period of time. Its sponsors said the bill was in response to a New York Times investigation, part of a continuing series, revealing that cases often went cold after businesses deleted the data.

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Representative Anthony Gonzalez, an Ohio Republican who sponsored the bill, said it aimed to give chronically under-resourced investigators more time to gather evidence.

“The problem is that there’s just too much in the system,” he said. “There’s too big of a backlog for everybody to process and effectively prosecute and go after the criminals.”

The bill was simultaneously introduced in the Senate, where it was sponsored by Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, and Catherine Cortez Masto, a Nevada Democrat.

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