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Illinois: Employers and Employees to Report Discovery of Electronically Transmitted Child Pornography

  • October 7, 2008

Under an amendment to the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act, electronic information and technology workers and their employers in Illinois are required to report immediately any child pornography discovered on electronic and information technology equipment.  Workers for telecommunications carriers and commercial mobile radio services specifically are exempt from the new law. 

New Section 4.5, enacted on August 29, 2008, provides:
If an electronic and information technology equipment worker discovers any depiction of child pornography while installing, repairing, or otherwise servicing an item of electronic and information equipment, that worker or the worker’s employer shall immediately report the discovery to the local law enforcement agency or to the Cyber Tipline at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

“Electronic and information technology equipment” is defined as equipment used in the creation, manipulation, storage, display, or transmission of data.  Such equipment includes internet and intranet systems, software applications, operating systems, telecommunications products, kiosks, copiers, printers, and desktop and portable computers.

Failing to report a discovery of child pornography is a business offense subject to a fine of $1,001.  A worker or employer who reports a discovery of child pornography in accordance with the law is immune from any criminal, civil, or administrative liability in connection with making the report, unless “willful or wanton misconduct” can be shown.

Employers should take several steps to ensure compliance with this new law.  First, employers should set up a procedure for the immediate reporting of child pornography that has been found on electronic and information technology equipment.  In order to ensure that the appropriate report is made, this procedure should designate a company representative who should be notified of the discovery and who will be the person responsible for notifying the proper authorities. 

Second, employers should advise their electronic and information technology workers about the new requirement and ensure they are aware of the procedure for the immediate reporting of a discovery to the designated person.  They should also be aware that they could be subject to discipline for failing to report the discovery. 

Finally, employers should make sure all employees are advised of this law and are aware that if they are notified by an electronic and information technology worker that child pornography has been discovered on company electronic and information technology equipment, they are required to inform the company’s designated representative.   

As the law does not make any distinctions between an employee and an outside consultant or service provider, employers should notify all IT workers who work on the employer’s equipment of the new reporting requirement.  If an employer or IT worker reasonably believes that child pornography may be depicted, a report should be made. 

Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to answer your questions about this new law and assist in all workplace law issues.

 

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