The National Center on Sexual Exploitation recently endorsed and helped pass key legislation in Congress: the End National Defense (END) Network Abuse Act. The provision, authored by Senator Brain Schatz (D-HI) and cosponsored by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), is included in the annual National Defense Authorization Act and is expected to be signed into law.
The END Network Abuse Act would assist the Pentagon in stopping the Department of Defense’s (DoD) illegal use of the government network to view, possess, trade, and even produce child pornography.
Millions of child sexual abuse images are being shared across the Internet—over 45 million online photos and videos were reported to tech companies in 2018 alone. The use of child pornography is not limited to the DoD, but data from 2018 revealed the DoD’s network ranked 19th out of 2,891 nationwide networks when it came to peer-to-peer trading of child pornography.
The DoD is unequipped to deal with the level of abuse coming from their own network devices. A 2006 report from Immigration and Customs Enforcement identified 5,200 Pentagon employees with suspected use of child pornography. Catching and prosecuting these individuals has not been an investigative priority for the military. As such, most of the military investigators are not properly trained or given the tools to apprehend offenders.
As stated in Senator Schatz’s press release, the END Network Abuse Act would “upgrade the training and technical capacity of military criminal investigative organizations to confront the misuse of the DoD’s computers, facilities, and equipment to access and trade child pornography. It would also require the DoD to enter into collaborative agreements with appropriate federal, state and local law enforcement entities, child protection organizations, trauma informed health care providers, and targeted social services.”
We are grateful for Senator Schatz and Congress for passing this critical legislation and we believe that, if the END Network Abuse Act is voted into law, it will protect children from being further exploited.
For more details about the END Network Abuse Act, read the summary here.