Computer IT people could face fine, jail time for not reporting child porn

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A Utah lawmaker is proposing a bill that would hold computer technicians liable if they see child pornography on a client’s computer.

Rep. Craig Hall, R-West Valley City, introduced the bill Monday, the first day of the 2016 legislative session. If the bill is passed, computer technicians could face a $1,000 fine or six months in jail if they don’t report child pornography to police.

If the bill becomes law it would still be business as usual at PC Laptops according to their CEO, Dan Young.

“It’s part of our company culture that if we see something like that anywhere we have to report it. It’s just normal for us,” Young said.

How ever, it’s the gray area of the law that worries Young.

“It’s a good concept and I think there is validity to it, but again they really need to take a look at some of those details about how the enforcement is going to happen,” Young said.

Young worries about the innocent technician who didn’t see anything illegal and is eventually being held liable. Hall said the law would not ask technicians to be searching their client’s computers for child pornography.

“They don’t have any kind of duty to look at any of the files on the computer they’re working on. It’s just if they happen to come across it then they would have the obligation to report to local or state law enforcement,” Hall said.

Proving that the technician saw something illegal, but didn’t report it would fall on the shoulders of the prosecutor.

Fox13 News asked Hall why he didn’t chose to craft a law that forces it to be company policy, rather than holding individual technicians liable.

“That’s something that we’re beginning to have discussions about with some interested parties and certainly we’re always open to talking about how we can make the bill better,” Hall said.

However, when it comes to the end goal of preventing child abuse, all parties seem to be on board.

“I think it’s every American’s duty to report that if they see it,” Young said.

The bill has already been introduced and assigned the number HB-155. Hall said he believes it will be presented in front of committee in the next week or so. If it passes committee it will go to the floor of the House and from there, the Senate.

“I believe that this bill will help with the horrendous crimes of manufacturing and distributing child pornography,” Hall said.

5 comments

  • T

    I was always told not to go looking through files on computers that I repair. I think any pc technician should report anything illegal found on a computer but just like Dan said, what if we don’t see anything illegal on a computer? Are we to be held liable if we didn’t see anything on it that was illegal. I hope prosecutors will have some common sense if this becomes law. I think it should be rewritten. It definitely wasn’t thought out very well. Seems a bit rushed.

    • AVERAGEDUDE

      @T
      The common sense you’re talking about says that if you don’t see something then there’d be nothing for you to report. This bill is very well thought out.

    • KellyEAndrews

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      ➤➤➤➤➤➤….."http://tiny.tw/3oeY&quot;

  • Billy Bob

    Not that it may be shocking but technicians at these places are already going through your pictures, whether you like it or not, and copying them to an external location.

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