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Bill Requiring IT Employees to Report Child Porn Clears House

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Brian Grimmett

The Utah House passed a bill on Wednesday that could help crack down on the spread of child pornography.

Republican Representative Craig Hall says House Bill 155 would require IT professionals who find child pornography on a computer they’re repairing to report it to law enforcement. The legislation would also make it a crime if a technician fails to report those findings. Hall says his bill is similar to Utah’s mandatory child abuse reporting law, which requires anyone who has knowledge of child abuse to report it. But HB 155 would only apply to computer technicians who are on the clock. Hall adds, it does not require IT professionals to actively search for child pornography.

“It’s not triggered with a baby in the bathtub photo,” Hall says. “We have protections in the bill for the computer technicians that see this and might not report it because they reasonably believed that they were 18 versus 17.”

The bill would provide immunity for technicians who report in good faith.

Thirteen lawmakers voted against the bill. Republican Representative Brian Greene did not vote, but says the bill would require an IT employee to technically violate laws regarding the sexual exploitation of a minor.

“In the act of reporting, it’s very likely that the individual may feel the need to actually turn over a copy of that and in that regard would come into possession of that material,” Greene says.

According to the bill, individual employers would be in charge of establishing procedures for reporting. The legislation now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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