Office of the Attorney General
Senate Judiciary Committee Unanmiously Passes Cybersafety Legislation
Attorney General Jack Conway today thanked the Senate Judiciary Committee for unanimously passing House Bill 367, legislation that he drafted, which was sponsored by Rep. Johnny Bell (D-Glasgow), that strengthens Kentucky laws prohibiting internet child predators, cybercrimes and other modern law-enforcement challenges.
“I want to thank Sen. Robert Stivers (R-Manchester), the chair of the Judiciary Committee, for his leadership from day one on this important issue,” General Conway said. “Thanks to his leadership and the support of Sen. David Williams (R-Burkesville), we have a chance to bring our laws up to date with changes in technology and put together a bill that will help keep Kentucky families safe. I appreciate the good faith and bipartisan manner in which this bill was handled. It’s simply about protecting children in every corner of Commonwealth.
House Bill 367 will now be considered by the full Senate.
House Bill 367
House Bill 367 prohibits registered sex offenders from using social-networking websites that are frequented by minors, like MySpace and Facebook. Passage of this bill will allow Kentucky prosecutors to criminally charge sex offenders removed from the sites. Since May of last year, MySpace has removed the profiles of 40,000 sex offenders; 350 of those were from Kentucky.
The legislation also requires that sex offenders update their email addresses and online identifiers with the registry in a similar fashion as they update their physical addresses. The email addresses and online profiles will be available in a searchable database that will be accessible to the public. Email addresses will be removed from individual pages on the registry because of the concern that sex offenders may use these email addresses to communicate with each other or create online communities. These changes will bring the registry into compliance with the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act.
The bill amends Kentucky’s stalking statute to include cyberstalking, recognizing that threats or harassment can take place online and in person.
The the loophole in current law by clarifying that is a crime for a person to transmit live sexually explicit images of themselves to minors over the Internet via webcam or other technological devices.
Police will also be able to seize personal property, such as a computer or car, which has been used in the commission of online sexual offenses against children.
In addition to the cybersafety legislation, Attorney General Conway has pledged to create an Internet Crimes Unit that will be operational this spring. The group will investigate crimes committed online, from scams to solicitation of minors.
For more information about cybersafety, visit www.ag.ky.gov.