April 6, 2011

DOJ slow to act in anti-child-porn measures now too

GAO: DOJ behind on implementing anti-child-porn act
By Gautham Nagesh
04/01/11
Find the article here.

The Department of Justice is behind schedule with regard to implementing provisions of a 2008 law aimed at combating child pornography online, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office.

According to the report, the number of arrests for child-pornography-related offenses rose from 2,100 in 2006 to 5,300 in 2010, an increase of 150 percent.

To combat that growing threat, Congress passed the Protect Our Children Act of 2008, which tasked the Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children with a number of actions intended to improve law enforcement’s ability to detect child-pornography offenses.

The GAO found DOJ has yet to fulfill three provisions of the law: perform a study of the potential dangers faced by child-pornography offenders, develop a report on the department’s information-sharing structure and designate foreign law enforcement agencies with whom domestic agencies can share tips.

“Developing steps and time frames for fulfilling these three provisions, as required, may also help better ensure that law enforcement resources are more optimally focused on dangerous offenders as well as help ensure that investigative information is disseminated on a timelier basis,” states the report.

According to the report, one of the primary factors limiting investigations is the backlog for forensic analysis of digital evidence. Law enforcement officials said the various agencies that handle the evidence have difference procedures for analyzing it that in some cases can delay the process.

GAO recommended DOJ performance a cost-benefit analysis to ensure forensic resources are being maximized effectively. The report also calls for Justice to outline how it plans to comply with the three provisions mentioned above; DOJ generally concurred with the report’s recommendations.

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