Office of the Attorney General
Conway's Cybersafety Legislation Heads To Governor's Desk For Signature

Press Release Date:  Friday, March 13, 2009  
Contact Information:  Allison Gardner Martin
Communications Director
502-696-5651 (office)
 


Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and Representative Johnny Bell today thanked members of the House and Senate for their bipartisan support in passing legislation that will strengthen Kentucky laws to help protect children from Internet predators and bring state statutes up-to-date with changes in technology.

“I am gratified that the Kentucky General Assembly passed our comprehensive cybersafety legislation,” General Conway said. “I appreciate Senate President David Williams, the Kentucky Senate and especially Senator Robert Stivers for working with us on this measure in their chamber.

This new law will help our criminal statutes keep pace with changes in technology. It will also provide law enforcement with new tools to help keep predators off social-networking sites, charge criminals with cyberstalking, stem the use of webcams in certain crimes and make it easier for parents to search the Kentucky Sex Offender Registry for suspicious emails.”
 
Tonight, the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 38-0. The House had already unanimously approved the bill. House Bill 315 now awaits the Governor’s signature, and upon signature the new law will take effect on July 1, 2009.

“I appreciate lawmakers working together to keep Kentucky kids safe,” General Conway said. “I want to thank House Speaker Greg Stumbo and the cosponsors of the bill. I appreciate Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer, Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron, Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert White and his Crimes Against Children Unit, McCracken County Sheriff John Hayden and Mark Neblett, whose daughter committed suicide after being stalked online, for their support and input on House Bill 315.”

House Bill 315

House Bill 315 contains the following provisions:

  • Prohibits sex offenders from logging onto social networking sites that are used by children under the age of 18.
  • Requires sex offenders to update their email addresses and online identifiers with the registry in a similar fashion as they update their physical addresses. The bill codifies the Kentucky State Police Department’s current practice of making emails available in a searchable database that is accessible to the public. The bill would further require that online profiles, such as those used on MySpace or Facebook, also be included in the searchable database. Email addresses will be removed from individual pages on the registry because of the concern that sex offenders may use the information to communicate with each other or create online communities.
  • Amends Kentucky’s stalking statute to include cyberstalking, recognizing that threats or harassment can take place online and in person.
  • Closes a loophole in current law by clarifying that it is a crime for a person to transmit live sexually explicit images of themselves to minors over the Internet or other electronic network via webcam or other technological devices.
  • Allows police to seize personal property, such as a computer or car, which has been used by a predator in the commission of sexual offenses against children.
  • Grants administrative subpoena power to the Office of the Attorney General when investigating online crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children. This gives investigators direct access to secure relevant information that will help officers identify perpetrators in these cases.

Cybercrimes Unit

In June, despite budget cuts of almost 18 percent, General Conway fulfilled his commitment to create a Cybercrimes Unit to investigate crimes that occur online, from scams to solicitation of minors. The unit is now a member of the Internet Crimes Against Children task force, which is organized by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Since its creation, the unit has launched 13 child pornography investigations, seized 8,000 child pornographic images, opened a cybercrimes lab to process digital evidence, trained 400 law enforcement officers and prosecutors, and was only one of nine agencies in the country chosen by Microsoft to host cybersafety training for investigators.

For more information about cybersafety, visit ag.ky.gov/cybersafety.