Kuster, Gonzalez Send Bipartisan Letter to President Biden Urging the Administration to Combat Child Exploitation
Washington, February 9, 2021
Tags: Ending Sexual Violence
Washington, D.C. — Today Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Anthony Gonzalez (OH-16) sent a letter to President Biden urging the administration to prioritize funding for law enforcement that combat the spread of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and to support bipartisan legislative solutions in addressing this horrific problem. The letter emphasizes the urgency of addressing this issue, as the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a stark increase in CSAM reports.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear President Biden:
We write to express our increasing concern about the spread of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) online and ask your Administration to prioritize funding for law enforcement that combat these crimes and bipartisan legislative actions to further address these terrible offenses.
In recent years, we have seen a significant increase in reports of CSAM online and bipartisan support for addressing the issue in Congress. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has only further exacerbated the spread of CSAM as individuals began spending more time online. In March and April of 2020 alone, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) received over 6 million reports relating to CSAM. Reported CSAM to NCMEC in March 2020 more than doubled from March of 2019, and more than tripled from April 2020 compared to April 2019.
Given this sharp increase, and the critical importance of preventing the spread of CSAM online, we request your Administration make combatting the spread of CSAM a priority in your budget requests. In particular we ask that you support additional funding for law enforcement officers who are tasked with preventing the spread of this material online.
We also encourage you to support bipartisan legislative approaches to fighting this problem like our bill, the Eliminate Network Distribution of Child Exploitation, or END Child Exploitation Act. Currently, tech companies are required to retain information on CSAM for 90 days after reporting the material to NCMEC. This timeframe is often not sufficient for habitually under-resourced law enforcement to conduct the necessary investigative process. The END Child Exploitation Act doubles this time frame to 180 days and provides legal certainty to tech companies that store this reported content for a period past 180 days for the purpose of preventing the further dissemination of the content.
We must act now to prevent the spread of CSAM online. There is strong bipartisan support within Congress for additional federal action to address this horrific epidemic. We look forward to working with you and your Administration to better protect our children and communities.
Ann McLane Kuster