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October 2, 2012 > Governor signs legislation to collect data on Internet crimes

Governor signs legislation to collect data on Internet crimes

Submitted By Andrew LaMar

Legislation by Senate Majority Leader Ellen M. Corbett (D-San Leandro) to collect and publish information on Internet-related crimes in two of California's largest counties has been signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.

Senate Bill 561 directs the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the Alameda County District Attorney's Office to collect data on arrests and prosecutions that involve the misuse of personal information gathered via the Internet.

The bill also directs the California Department of Justice to publish the data on its website. The aim of the legislation is to provide a better picture of the scope and nature of Internet-generated crime. Such data can help guide policymakers and law enforcement across the state, as they combat criminal activity associated with the growing use of the Internet, electronic communications and social networking websites, such as Facebook.

"It is high time to track the criminal activity we know occurs via the Internet, social networking websites and smart phones," Corbett said. "These wonderful technological advances have transformed our society for the better but they have give criminals new opportunities they are actively exploiting. We need to understand exactly what is happening so we can respond appropriately."

Finding the connection between crime and the Internet is especially important for the safety and protection of children. Nationwide, 95 percent of children aged 12-17 years use the Internet, with 80 percent of them visiting social-networking websites and 70 percent using the Internet daily. Use among young children is also increasing, with kids aged 0-5 years accessing the Internet at least once a week.

Despite the explosion in Internet activity, authorities do not officially track Internet-generated crimes in its annual reporting statistics.

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