President Donald Trump signed the Providing Resources, Officers, and Technology to Eradicate Cyber Threats to (PROTECT) Our Children Act of 2017, which reauthorizes the National Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program through 2022.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, introduced the bill in March. The bill, which was originally passed in 2008, reauthorizes the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Program, a national network of 61 coordinated task forces representing 3,500 Federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies that combat child exploitation across the country.
“The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program helps thousands of law enforcement agencies nationwide with effective response strategies to support victims and help prevent future abuse,” Cornyn said. “Reauthorizing this task force program will help protect children from online exploitation.”
The bill required the Department of Justice to develop a National Strategy Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction, to improve the ICAC Task Force, to increase resources for regional computer forensic labs, and to increase the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute child predators.
The bill directs the attorney general to establish a National Internet Crimes Against Children Data System (ICAC Data System) to assist law enforcement in investigating and prosecuting child exploitation. The bill also requires the ICAC Data System to develop and maintain a technology and training program to provide a secure system of online communications between ICAC task forces and law enforcement agencies regarding ongoing investigations, a secure online system for resolving case conflicts, a secure data storage and analysis system, and technical assistance for the use of the ICAC Data System by Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.
“This bipartisan bill gives law enforcement officials critical resources to combat child exploitation, better protect survivors, and apprehend perpetrators,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. “Most importantly, the PROTECT Act sends a message of hope to all those affected by the horrific crime of child pornography. I’m proud to have cosponsored such a significant piece of bipartisan legislation.”