New law requires tracking of Internet crimes

Alameda County and Los Angeles must now collect and publish information on Internet-related crimes, under an East Bay lawmaker’s bill signed into law Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Ellen CorbettSenate Bill 561 by Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, requires the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office to collect data on arrests and prosecutions that involve the misuse of personal information gathered on the Internet. It also directs the state Justice Department to publish that data on its website.

The aim is to create a more accurate picture of the scope and nature of Internet-related crime, which can help lawmakers and law enforcement combat such activity.

“It is high time to track the criminal activity we know is occurring via the Internet, social networking websites and smart phones,” Corbett said in a news release. “These wonderful technological advances have transformed our society for the better, but they have also presented criminals with new opportunities they are actively exploiting. We need to understand exactly what is happening so we can respond appropriately.”

Corbett said mapping connections between crime and Internet is particularly important for protecting children, as 95 percent of children aged 12 to 17 spend time online; about 80 percent of them visit social-networking sites. Even use among young children is on the rise, with kids up to age 5 now accessing the Internet at least once a week.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.