During the 2009 Legislative session, an important step was taken to better protect children with the passage of Assembly Bill 88, a bill that makes two significant changes to Nevada law to combat the problem of child pornography.
This legislation was developed by the Technological Crime Advisory Board, which I chair. AB88 addresses the board’s concern with some of the challenges that exist for law enforcement in areas where the Internet is an integral part of the crime of child pornography.
The bill updates Nevada’s criminal statutes to account for evolving technology that has resulted in the widespread dissemination of child pornography over the Internet. AB88 makes it a felony to intentionally use the Internet to control images of child pornography for the specific purpose of viewing such material. This includes conduct such as searching for and locating Web sites with images of child pornography, opening and navigating such sites, and accessing and browsing child pornography online.
This is important because modern technology eliminates the need to download a file to a local computer for viewing. The Internet provides the ability to control photographic images or streaming video without actually downloading the material. In effect, child pornography can be “viewed” on the Internet without physically possessing an electronic file that produces video or still images.
While Nevada law provides criminal penalties against the production and promotion of child pornography, it is also important to target the audience for this material. Consumers of child pornography on the Internet share culpability in the victimization of the children involved, and now face criminal penalties for their conduct. Moreover, research indicates that as many as 85 percent of child pornography viewers and collectors eventually commit sexual offenses against children.