HB155: Lawmaker wants computer techs to report child porn

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SALT LAKE CITY- A bill proposed in the Utah Legislature would require technicians to report child pornography if they discover it while servicing and repairing computers.

Rep. Craig Hall, R- West Valley, is sponsoring HB155.  According to Hall, there are already 12 states that have similar laws in place. HB155 would push Utah technicians to report any cases of child pornography that they may encounter while working on a client’s computer. If the bill passes, any technician that comes across child pornography related material and neglects to report it may face up to six months jail time and a $1,000 fine.

The Utah House of Representatives will be the first to consider the bill that require technicians to report child pornography if found on a client's computer.
The Utah House of Representatives will be the first to consider the bill that require technicians to report child pornography if found on a client’s computer.

“This will just simply help with our ongoing efforts to fight the horrendous crimes of manufacturing and distributing child pornography,” Hall said.

Currently, computer technicians are not required to report child pornography. There are some companies though, who currently require it as their company policy. If the bill is passed, the techinicians would only be required to pass the information onto local investigators, and would not be pulled into any further part of the investigation.

Hall also explained that in order for the image to be reported, it must meet a certain criteria. “The law  would only be triggered if the image meets the statutory definition of child pornography. And to be an image that is reported it is required to be an image that depicts sexually explicit conduct,” he said.

Initially, computer technicians were worried about the responsibility that would be on their shoulders if this bill were to pass. But, Jordan Fisher, a manager for the American Fork Geek Squad Unit at Best Buy, said that he would be “all for it.”

He said,  “I think this is something that is a big deal in my opinion, and I would be all for it.”

Hall makes the distinction that technicians will not be required to go searching for any sexually explicit material on their client’s computers rather to report it if they happened upon it while working a job. The law would allow technicians to disregard confidentiality agreements between clients and protect them from being sued by the company or clients as a result of the report.

“It’s kind of akin to our state’s child abuse reporting statute. There is a law already in place that if somebody becomes aware of child abuse they are required to report it. So, this new proposed bill is similar to that. If a computer technician happens to come across child pornography then and only then would they be required to report it,”  Hall said.

The proposed bill, HB155, has yet to be heard by a legislative committee.

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