Stop Child Predators Supports Legislation Restricting Access to Child Pornography on Government Computers

H.R. 4098 Referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Washington, DC – Today Stop Child Predators applauded Representative Ed Towns (D-NY) for introducing the Secure Federal File Sharing Act, H.R. 4098, that will help prevent the proliferation of child pornography by prohibiting the download, installation or use of open-network peer-to-peer file sharing software by government employees on all federal computers. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will consider the legislation.

Studies show users of peer-to-peer applications have inadvertently exposed personal information such as their tax returns, health records, business documents and other confidential information through file-sharing programs.  Worse, peer-to-peer applications can be used as vehicles for the distribution of illegal child pornography that is often deliberately labeled with seemingly benign titles that appeal to children. 

As a result, when a child searches for popular terms like “Hannah Montana” on a file-sharing service, that child runs the risk of being exposed to child pornography. 

Because these programs automatically share any file that is downloaded onto a user’s computer, the child may also unwittingly become a worldwide distributor and publisher of the same pornography to which he or she was exposed, making it more likely that others will be exposed as well. 

“We applaud Representative Towns for introducing legislation that puts into place safeguards to help curb the dissemination of child pornography that could be mistakenly accessed by government employees if they download peer-to-peer file sharing software on their work computers.  While peer-to-peer technology has many useful and legal purposes, statistics also indicate such networks create fertile ground for swapping pornographic material of minors,” said Stacie Rumenap, President of Stop Child Predators.

H.R. 4098 allows for exceptions to be made available if a peer-to-peer file sharing program is necessary for certain business operations of an agency or for a particular task or project.

Stop Child Predators works to fight against the dissemination of child pornography. 

Stop Child Predators published the white paper “Peer-to-Peer File Sharing:  Pandora’s Box of Child Porn?” in November 2009 recognizing the use of peer-to-peer networks by pedophiles to trade child pornography, and also highlighting the efforts by Congress, law enforcement officials and industry leaders to combat the problem. 

In February 2008, Stop Child Predators filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission arguing any new rules governing broadband industry practices should not interfere with the ability of Internet Service Providers to make sure their networks are not used to transmit child pornography.

Stop Child Predators also weighed in on United States v. Michael Williamsbefore the United States Supreme Court in June 2007.  This case was an appeal from a federal court ruling that struck down a law prohibiting individuals from marketing and trafficking child pornography on the Internet.  In a 7 to 2 opinion in May 2008, the Supreme Court ruled against the appeal and upheld the original 2003 law targeting child pornographers.

About Stop Child Predators
Stop Child Predators is a national non-profit organization that brings together a team of policy experts, law enforcement officers, community leaders, and parents to persuade state and federal lawmakers to enact policies to combat the sexual exploitation of children, and promote and protect the rights of victims.