House committee passes DeSantis bill targeting child predators

WASHINGTON – A House committee voted Wednesday to send a bill targeting child predators to the floor for consideration.

The bill (H.R. 883), sponsored by Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Palm Coast, is designed to strengthen the ability of law enforcement to bring child predators to justice.

“As a former prosecutor, I know firsthand just how valuable electronic evidence can be to target predators and protect our children ” DeSantis said. “The Targeting Child Predators Act will prevent suspects from destroying evidence and covering their tracks, giving law enforcement the tools they need to better investigate these heinous crimes. This is a sensible reform that aims to better protect our children from exploitation online, and I hope this bill is taken up by the full House as soon as possible.”

Law enforcement can often obtain the IP address of a suspected child predator and then subpoena Internet Service Providers for the user information attached to the IP address. ISPs may then inform the user of the law enforcement inquiry, enabling suspected child predators to wipe clean their accounts and delete potential evidence, DeSantis said.

The Targeting Child Predators Act would amend 18 USC Section 3486, requiring that ISPs, in the very specific case of child exploitation, wait 180 days before disclosing to specific users that their information was requested by law enforcement.

Similar measures have been introduced in the Florida legislature: House Bill 1429 introduced by Rep. Shawn Harrison and Senate Bill 1244 introduced by Sen. Greg Steube.