"It is becoming far more common for pedophiles to seek new victims through on-line chatrooms
and email ..."
- Rep. McGuire
"An Act relating to the forfeiture of property used to possess or distribute child pornography, to commit indecent viewing or photography, to commit a sex offense, or to solicit the commission of, attempt to commit, or conspire to commit possession or distribution of child pornography, indecent viewing or photography, or a sexual offense."
This most recent version of HB 52 is an amalgamation of the original version and Sen. Dyson's SB 96 "An Act relating to Child Pornography." The inclusion of Sen. Dyson's bill was done at his request and assistance during the April 10th Senate State Affairs Committee hearing. The inclusion of this language strengthens HB 52 by expanding Alaska's child pornography statutes to include businesses that provide billing services to Internet child pornography distributors. This sends a clear message that Alaska is not open for business to Internet pedophiles or those unscrupulous profiteers who provide ancillary business services that perpetuate such criminal enterprises.
While providing instant access to useful and valuable information for business and academic research, the expansion of the Internet and corresponding development of computer technology have also created an environment in which new types of criminal enterprise are flourishing. Perhaps the most pernicious and predatory are the ever-increasing crimes against children.
It is becoming far more common for pedophiles to seek new victims through on-line chatrooms and email and for child pornography profiteers to use these technologies as a means to distribute their materials. HB 52 will provide the state courts and law enforcement agencies another tool to combat these sexual predators by giving the courts additional punitive sentencing options and, in turn, awarding forfeited computer technology back to law enforcement agencies for ongoing monitoring operations.
HB 52 will make it possible for law enforcement to stay on top of this rapidly changing industry without spending more government dollars. Advances in technology seem to happen on an almost daily basis, and new technology can frequently outperform previous models. This creates greater restrictions for police detection and monitoring operations thus leaving them at a disadvantage. In order for law enforcement to effectively combat computer crime, they must have access to the necessary hardware.
There are forfeiture laws in place across the country and at the federal level. Several other states already have similar laws on the books relating to the forfeiture of computers used in sex crimes. The use of computers in the commission of sex crimes is a national problem, and Alaska can look toward other states' laws in this area to draw realistic conclusions about the likely impact here in our own state.
HB 52 will amend AS 11.41 and AS 11.61, respectively, by adding the necessary statutory language for the forfeiture of hardware used either in a sexual offense or in indecent viewing or photography or child pornography and adding language that includes "billing collection, or other ancillary services for or otherwise supporting these activities."