Senate Judiciary Committee Advances Bipartisan Bill To Protect Children From Online Sexual Exploitation

Today’s vote marks the fifth bill to protect children’s safety online to pass out of the Committee

WASHINGTON – Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance the REPORT Act, a bipartisan bill by Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Jon Ossoff (D-GA) that would strengthen the CyberTipline run by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) to report online child sexual exploitation, which received over 32 million reports last year.  

On today’s vote, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said: “I’ve said since the beginning of this Congress: the Senate Judiciary Committee will make children’s online safety a high priority and advance legislation to protect kids. We’ve kept that promise, advancing five bills on a bipartisan basis on this issue. Senators Ossoff and Blackburn displayed admirable bipartisan collaboration in advancing the REPORT Act, and we will continue to hold Big Tech accountable for their failure to police themselves – at the risk of our children.” 

The REPORT Act would combat the rise in child sexual abuse material online by instilling new measures to help address the evolving challenges around identifying online child sexual exploitation. The bill would require websites and social media platforms to report violations of federal crimes involving child sex trafficking (e.g. ads selling children for sex) and online enticement or coercion of children; increase the fine (up to $850,000) for websites and social media platforms that knowingly and willfully fail to report child sexual abuse material and online child sexual exploitation; and increase the time that websites and social media platforms are required to preserve evidence for reports that they submit to the CyberTipline, giving law enforcement more time to investigate and prosecute. The bill, as amended, was approved by voice vote.

Additionally, the Committee voted to advance the nomination of Shannon Saylor to be United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Virginia by voice vote.

An archived video of today’s hearing can be found here.