On October 3, 2008, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed the Child Protection Act of 2008 into law. This new legislation imputes, among other things, a duty on all Illinois computer technicians to report child pornography discovered on the job. Such reports are to be made with local law enforcement agencies or with the Illinois Child Exploitation e-Tipline. These reports must include 1) the name, address, phone number, and employer of the technician filing the report; 2) the name, address, and phone number of the person whose property is the subject of the report; and 3) the circumstances which led to the filing of the report, including a description of the reported content. Failure to make such reports constitutes a business offense with a fine of $1,000.00.
The language of this new legislation broadly defines a computer technician and, in doing so, affects virtually all employers in Illinois. The Child Protection Act plainly provides, “[a] computer technician is a person who installs, maintains, troubleshoots, repairs or upgrades computer hardware, software, computer networks, peripheral equipment, electronic mail systems, or provides user assistance for any of the aforementioned tasks.” Accordingly, companies’ Information Technology Department employees are subject to the Act’s child pornography reporting duty as the Act is not limited to computer technicians who provide services to outside third parties.
MFEM’s Employment and Labor Group recommends that Illinois companies brief their Information Technology departments on this new legislation and implement procedures to ensure company compliance. In addition, companies may use this new legislation as an opportunity to reexamine their existing Internet/computer usage policies. It is axiomatic that strict, well-enforced Internet usage policies will protect a company from liability for violations of this new legislation, as well as from more general legal responsibility.